It may be the year of the pig according to the Chinese Zodiac, but in the global investment arena, it’s proven to be the year of the bitcoin so far.
That’s the case that Morgan Creek Digital partner and founder Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano made during his May 14th appearance on CNBC’s Squawk Box morning program, where he sat alongside “Mr. Wonderful” Kevin O’Leary, a high-profile Canadian businessman and infamous judge on the entrepreneur pitch show Shark Tank.
Asked why bitcoin was performing so well as of late, Pomp cited the recent surge in cryptocurrency exchange volume as well as the newly-set record for CME Bitcoin Futures transactions as clear indicators that the cryptoeconomy’s latest bull market is on.
Spent 7 minutes this morning teaching Mr Wonderful @kevinolearytv about Bitcoin on national television.
Watch and see him immediately understand how important the Bitcoin halving will be in 2020! 🔥https://t.co/8RYPQmE1IO
— Pomp 🌪 (@APompliano) May 14, 2019
When pressed on what was underpinning the bullish uptrend, Pomp said that retail investors as well as institutional investors spurred on by the likes of Bakkt’s and Fidelity Digital Assets’s presence in the space were creating the wave of buy pressure.
Creator of the popular “Long Bitcoin, Short the Bankers” slogan, Pomp said two drivers of the influx of optimism were Bitcoin’s impending halvening and the ongoing and apparently worsening trade war between the U.S. and China:
“I think what you’re seeing is two things: one, it’s a very scarce asset. We’re about a year out from the halvening, so it’s going to get about half as scarce in the monetary schedule. Historically that’s been a really big moment in terms of being a price driver.[…] The other thing I’d say is I think that the trade war actually has a little bit to do with it. Right, this idea that we’re essentially watching a trade war play out on Twitter — you look at a non-sovereign currency, and I think that there’s some kind of safe haven there.”
Kevin O’Leary Calls It “Crypto Crap”
Kevin O’Leary followed up Pomp’s bull case for bitcoin with a strong serving of skepticism.
“I want to explore the idea that there is nothing here except raw speculation — no different than when I go to Las Vegas and put my money on black or red on an a roulette wheel, because where is the intrinsic value […] tell me why this, which is basically a digital game — it’s the way I look at it — has any intrinsic value?”
O’Leary added that he downloaded the Coinbase app in 2017 and invested $100 USD into what he called the “crypto crap,” i.e. the exchange’s selection of coin’s at the time. The Shark Tank judge said that investment now stands at $30 after the cryptoeconomy bear market of 2018, his suggestion being that cryptocurrencies were a bad investment in general.
“It’s still garbage, I’m not going to take real money and put it into this thing — it’s never going to happen,” he concluded.
O’Leary announced his support of a real estate-backed security token offering (STO) last March, though there’s been no word regarding the project’s fruition since. Per his new comments, it seems O’Leary may have stepped away from the effort as crypto turned increasingly bearish throughout 2018.
Love It Or Hate It, Bitcoin Has Been on the Move
One point that Pomp brought up repeatedly in his appearance alongside O’Leary was that bitcoin has been the best-performing asset over the last decade.
With that said, BTC has been performing similarly well in recent months, leading both the S&P 500 and oil prices in gains so far this year.
Bitcoin $BTC: +96%
Oil $USO: +36%
MLPs $AMLP: +18%
REITs $VNQ: +17%
Nasdaq 100 $QQQ: +16%
Small Caps $IWM: +14%
S&P 500 $SPY: +13%
EAFE $EFA: +9%
Commodities $DBC: +9%
High Yield $HYG: +7%
Investment Grade $LQD: +7%
EM $EEM: +4%
Bonds $AGG: +3%
Gold $GLD: +1%
— Charlie Bilello (@charliebilello) May 13, 2019
On May 13th, the bitcoin price hit $8,000 for the first time since last fall after an impressive 13 percent rise on the day. The optimism surrounding the buy pressure could prove reflexive, insofar as it could lead to further buy pressure materializing as other traders FOMO (“Fear on missing out”) into BTC.