From Bitcoin haters to Bitcoin evangelists, a tale of 6 Bitcoin whales

There are few in-betweeners in the Bitcoin space. Most people either passionately believe in the cryptocurrency or vehemently disagree with everything Bitcoin stands for. But there are also those who initially set up camp with the haters and have since defected to the light. We look at six prominent Bitcoin deniers that have recently started singing a very different tune.

Mark Cuban
Billionaire entrepreneur, television personality, and media proprietor

The billionaire investor said in December 2020 that Bitcoin “is more religion than a solution to any problem.” Since his comments a year ago, Bitcoin adoption has scaled rapidly, along with Cuban’s interest in the coin. He now has an entire portfolio dedicated to cryptocurrency, with the majority of funds invested in bitcoin. And he isn’t selling anytime soon, touting that bitcoin’s a better alternative to gold.

He’s also enthusiastic about Ethereum, which, he says, reshaped his thinking of crypto. “Smart contracts came along, and that created decentralized finance (DeFi) and NFTs,” Cuban told CNBC Make It. “That’s what got me excited. I wish I had bought it sooner.”

Don Tapscott
Co-founder and Executive Chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute

Don Tapscott is the co-author of Blockchain Revolution, a book about the power of blockchain technology, but you better believe the author and crypto evangelist was once a skeptic.

“I used to think it would never fly. Now I think it’s not only going to fly as a currency, but the underlying blockchain technology is a core part of the next generation of the internet that will radically transform many of our institutions in society,” Tapscott explained his change of heart to students at a Toronto school in 2014. “Transactions are just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.

Carl Icahn
Founder and controlling shareholder of Icahn Enterprises

In 2018, American businessman Carl Icahn said in an interview with CNBC that cryptocurrencies were “ridiculous”, and that he “wouldn’t touch the stuff.” Fast-forward to May this year, the 84-year-old billionaire–activist announced he would be investing in bitcoin “in a relatively big way.” For Icahn, “relatively big” means parking more than $1 billion in bitcoin.

George Soros
Billionaire investor and chair of Soros Fund Management

In 2018, Soros said that “cryptocurrency is a misnomer, and it’s a typical bubble which is always based on some kind of misunderstanding.”

While Soros hasn’t made any public statements about investing in bitcoin, two undisclosed sources were cited in a report from TheStreet as saying in July that chief investment officer of the Soros Fund Management Dawn Fitzpatrick had given the internal green light to trade bitcoin.

Fitzpatrick said there was a chance that crypto could have stayed a “fringe asset”, if it weren’t for the 25% uptick in money supply over the past 12 months. The chief investment officer also commented on how she interprets bitcoin and its utility “there’s a real fear of debasing of fiat currencies, when you think about Bitcoin, I don’t think it’s a currency, I think it’s a commodity and it’s a commodity that’s easily storable, it’s easily transferable.”

Niall Ferguson
Historian, economist, Milbank Family Senior Fellow

“I was very wrong,” said Ferguson at The Australian Financial Review Business Summit in 2019. “Wrong to think there was no use for a form of currency based on blockchain technology.” This coming from a guy who initially labelled Bitcoin a “delusion”.

These revisions came after he expressed regret for having not taken his teen son’s advice to buy bitcoin back in 2014, which he later said was the “worst investment decision of my life.”

“If I had listened to him, I would have increased the dollar value of my investment by a factor of 45—or, if you prefer, I’d have made a return on the investment of 4,436%,” he said, before sharing what he considers to be the moral of the story: “when it comes to technology, pay heed to teenagers.”

Jamie Dimon
Chairman and chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase

During a Wall Street Journal CEO Council summit, Dimon said, “I don’t care about bitcoin. I have no interest in it. On the other hand, clients are interested, and I don’t tell clients what to do.” While Dimon still needs swaying, the JPMorgan Chase CEO makes the list as a wildcard, seeing that the bank is reportedly in the final stages of launching an actively managed bitcoin fund to its super wealthy clients.

The multinational investment powerhouse is one of many financial institutions that have come onboard the crypto revolution, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase.

With institutional interest fuelling the drive for mass adoption, we’re sure to see more big name converts added to the list. Question is, who’s next?

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