Billionaire investor Ray Dalio says there's a good chance the US will outlaw bitcoin altogether - just like it once banned gold

FILE PHOTO: Ray Dalio, Founder, Co-Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chief Investment Officer, Bridgewater Associates attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben SprichRuben Sprich/ReutersRay Dalio said bitcoin had become like ‘digital cash.’

Ray Dalio, the founder of the world’s biggest hedge fund, has raised concerns the US government could ban bitcoin altogether if it becomes too successful.

Dalio told Yahoo Finance the history of money suggested policymakers would want to stamp down on alternative currencies that could challenge the dominance of the dollar.

“I think that it would be very likely that you will have it under a certain set of circumstances outlawed the way gold was outlawed,” he said, referring to the government’s move to ban people from privately holding gold in the 1930s.

Dalio told Yahoo’s “Influencers with Andy Serwer” online interview series that bitcoin had “proven itself” over the last decade and is now like “digital cash.”

The founder of $US150 ($198) billion hedge fund Bridgewater Associates said this success could be a danger to governments. “They don’t want other monies to be operating or competing because things can get out of control.”

Dalio said the current debates among policymakers in India about banning bitcoin altogether could herald a growing trend. He added: “I would suspect it would be very hard to hold up against that kind of action.”

However, there has been no indication from US regulators that they are seeking to totally outlaw bitcoin, which has soared around 650% over the last year to $US51,000 ($67,188) on Thursday.

Many investors argue bitcoin should not be seen as a currency, but rather as a speculative asset.

Some influential figures, including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, have suggested regulations should be tightened, due to concerns that cryptocurrencies are used to finance the drugs trade and terrorism.

Dalio had some warm words for bitcoin, saying it has “proven itself” over the last decade. “It hasn’t been hacked. It’s, by and large, therefore worked on an operational basis. It has built a significant following. It is an alternative, in a sense, storehold of wealth.”

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.