- Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are a technological unity, but markets act only when Bitcoin investment is the locus of attention.
- The top 10 richest people on the planet have split opinions towards crypto and blockchain integrations.
- Not all billionaires are keen on cryptocurrency’s entry into mainstream spending habits, some doubting its use cases.
Transaction volume and increased network activity are crypto’s end goal of reaching mass-market status. Market liquidity is a catalyst for decreasing volatility and making crypto more sustainable. According to Forbes, tech billionaires represent 7 of the Top 10 wealthiest people in the world. They’ve created products and services for the digital generation, yet their conclusions on cryptocurrencies are divided.
The Wealthy Crypto Attitude
Billionaire’s perceptions of cryptocurrencies are divided. Both blockchain and crypto hold different meanings depending on one’s background and previous financial and technological experiences. However, discrepancies between the two are often illustrated, with cryptocurrencies often being doubted.
Although CEOs such as Elon Musk and Michael Saylor have invested in Bitcoin, their opinions on crypto are not shared equally, partly because cryptocurrency scams are common in an unregulated market. Furthermore, according to billionaire Wu Jihan, regulatory pressure is beneficial for the crypto space as it removes bad actors.
That said, previous global cryptocurrency incidents have influenced billionaires’ perceptions of the market. Yet, the technological underpinning of crypto, blockchain, still adds value to the development of our digital infrastructure. Still, Warren Buffet, who ranks 6th in the Top 10 wealthiest list, appears to discredit both crypto and blockchain entirely. While only a handful of the Top 10 billionaires have been vocal about crypto, including Elon Musk and Warren Buffet, others have retained their right to silence.
Below, we compiled a list highlighting some of the Top 10 richest billionaires and their stance on cryptocurrencies.
Amazon has recently been the topic of speculation when an insider claimed Amazon is working on adopting cryptocurrencies. The Verge claims crypto efforts have been directed by Jeff Bezos himself, who has stepped down as CEO of Amazon in the interim.
Still, Amazon has denied any involvement in cryptocurrencies. However, Changpeng Zhao, Binance’s CEO, highlighted that Amazon’s entry into the crypto space could be the catalyst for a new bull run. To that end, Amazon is yet to make public confirmation of investing or hoping to invest in crypto, aside from their comment of “exploring what this could look like for customers.”
Bernard Arnault, owner of LVMH, the luxury retail conglomerate, owning 70 brands including Louis Vuitton, doubled his revenue since 2020, currently amounting to $150 billion. His public stance on cryptocurrencies is close to none.
However, a 2019 press release highlighted LVMH brands like Dior or Louis Vuitton partnered with ConsenSys and Microsoft Azure to create a blockchain infrastructure to help prove product authenticity. Furthermore, Louis Vuitton launched an NFT game indicating the company’s luxury appeal is worth exploring on NFT platforms. Thus, while directly investing in crypto as an asset does not bring value to the company, blockchain does facilitate better business practices for luxury brands.
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, emphasized he is not a “big fan” of cryptocurrencies due to their use in criminal activity. What’s more, he declared his view on Bitcoin is neutral, arguing “Bitcoin can go up and down just based on the mania.”
While crypto (Bitcoin) is not of interest to Bill Gate due to its speculative nature, blockchain is used on Microsoft Azure, stressing that the underlying technology has its merits. However, the company has announced they will pull the plug on Microsoft Azure Blockchain starting September 10th.
Mark Zuckerberg has blatantly claimed cryptocurrencies, the digital assets, are the future of digital payments, stressing blockchain and the technology surrounding Bitcoin “could help improve Facebook.” As Anthony Scaramucci highlighted, Zuckerberg is a “Bitcoiner.”
Furthermore, Facebook became more blockchain-friendly when they announced the release of their Diem stablecoin. Zuckerberg claimed spending money online should be as simple as sharing photos, yet their digital currency endeavor clashed with regulatory pushback. Furthermore, Facebook was rumored to go beyond just implementing blockchain technology and investing in Bitcoin, a myth rapidly demystified.
Larry Ellison’s Oracle enterprise has been rumored to follow Tesla’s path and add Bitcoin to their balance sheets. However, the company failed to live up to the rumors, and the company stock plunged by 6% following the announcement.
In a Business Insider article, Larry Ellison emphasized blockchain is an alternative to outdated “long-held authentication” practices. Additionally, Oracle also announced the development of a blockchain application to aid businesses in supply chain management and smart contracts.
Chairman of Reliance Industries, Mukesh Ambani, has planned to expand into a new sector after increasing their share in the oil and telecom industry. While Akash hasn’t publicly emphasized cryptocurrency, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, the communication entity, plans to release their JioCoin as per a LiveMint report.
Additionally, the company hired 50 professionals to help develop and build the crypto project, whilst Mukesh Ambani will lead the project. Furthermore, Ambani company has invested $5 million in the VHL blockchain start-up as a 5.57% stake. While Mukesh has not publicly emphasized blockchain, his company and side venture have invested heavily in technology.
Google (Larry Page & Sergey Brin)
Similar to Facebook, Google intervened during the 2017 ICO to stomp cryptocurrency scams by banning all crypto-related ads on their platforms. However, their stance on ICO is not similar to their view on crypto in general. During a Morocco conference, Sergey Brin emphasized, Google failed “to be on the bleeding edge” of the technology.
However, Brin highlighted mining “piqued his interest” in crypto, despite not knowing a lot about the industry. All the while, Google has reapproved cryptocurrency advertising on their platform, and as Brin stated, a research-oriented approach at their Google X division can make crypto ideas “real.”
On The Flipside
- Companies associated with the Top 10 are already investing in blockchain technology but are reluctant to take the risk of directly owning Bitcoin.
- Blockchain is better perceived within the billionaire community than the idea of using crypto for transactions.
- Warren Buffet is one of the only equivocal billionaires who undermines Bitcoin’s structure and societal use case.