Scared to Talk Bitcoin Over Christmas Dinner? Here Are 5 Points That Will Make You Sound Smarter
The cryptocurrency rocketed from $800 to $19,000 this year. Is it a scam or here to stay? Business leaders from Fidelity to Overstock.com cut through noise.
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If you ask ten people about bitcoin, you're likely to get ten different responses. In September, J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon referred to bitcoin--the cryptocurrency that skyrocketed from $800 in value in January to $19,000 last month--as a "fraud." Then in October, he doubled down, asserting that anyone who buys bitcoin is "stupid."
But there are many business leaders who believe bitcoin is here to stay. These CEOs offer up their rationale, and the muscle they're putting behind cryptocurrencies.
1. Patrick Bryne, the eccentric founder of Overstock.com, told CNNMoney in Dec. 2017 that he trusts bitcoin over all government-backed currencies. He points to countries like Zimbabwe, where the local currency collapsed, and bitcoin and other digital currencies emerged as an alternative financial system. Byrne is hardly a new believer: In 2014, Overstock became the first major retailer to accept bitcoin payments. Byrne said that one of the Utah-based company's blockchain investments, TZero, which is an alternative trading system, launched a $250 million initial coin offering this week.
2. Ted Livingston, the CEO of Kik, the eight-year-old Canadian company that makes a popular teen chat app, announced last summer that the company was building a financial ecosystem inside the Kik app. Instead of U.S. or Canadian dollars, Kik decided to make its own digital currency called "Kin" and raised $100 million by selling Kin during an initial coin offering in September 2017.
3. Abigail Johnson, the CEO of Fidelity Investments, is one of the few leaders in the traditional financial and banking space to champion bitcoin. In a May 2017 speech, she said that blockchain technology could "fundamentally change market structures and perhaps even the architecture of the internet itself." Johnson also explained that Fidelity started exploring bitcoin three years ago, setting up bitcoin and ethereum mining operations in the firm's R&D lab. Fidelity will enable account holders to integrate their bitcoin assets held through Coinbase--the popular digital currency wallet--on Fidelity.com.
4. Jensen Huang, CEO of semiconductor and microchip maker Nvidia, said in August that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are "here to stay." Nvidia's computer graphics processing unit chips, which were initially made to improve video game graphics, were adopted by cryptocurrency miners to verify transactions. The increased demand has lead to explosive profits for Nvidia.
5. Jeremy Allaire, CEO of global, no-fee payment app Circle, which uses blockchain and cryptocurrency technology to enable users to send money between the U.S., the U.K., and the European Union, told Inc. back in 2013 that the technological innovation of bitcoin is on the same scale as the internet. In Nov. 2017, Allaire told CNBC that bitcoin and blockchain technology are "fundamental breakthroughs" in record keeping and transaction settlement that will transform the way money moves across the world.