Billionaire tech chief: Bitcoin should be owned

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Chamath Palihapitiya says people who don’t invest in bitcoin could ‘use that money to be good parents or teachers’ After Snapchat owner Snap gave its most conservative forecast…

Billionaire tech chief: Bitcoin should be owned

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Chamath Palihapitiya says people who don’t invest in bitcoin could ‘use that money to be good parents or teachers’

After Snapchat owner Snap gave its most conservative forecast yet for revenue, a notable tech executive has spoken out in support of bitcoin.

Chamath Palihapitiya, former chief executive of Facebook, told CNBC TV’s Squawk Box that the currency is a “rock star”.

He put hundreds of millions of dollars into the cryptocurrency and argued it should be enjoyed, not banned.

The 44-year-old said the attention that bitcoin receives when it rises in value, together with its steady fall, teaches people to avoid owning it.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Chamath Palihapitiya said: “In short, people don’t want to own bitcoin. I sure don’t want to own bitcoin, either”

He told CNBC: “When people own it … like I told my father-in-law, ‘please don’t sell. I told you I think it’s going to become a rock star. This is the one, this is the future.’

“It’s becoming the rock star of modern financial superstition.”

‘A good habit to start’

The tech entrepreneur said only a minority of tech executives who work in high-growth areas make the transition into management roles in larger companies.

“Once you’re out, when we lose people on the whole [to high-growth areas], it hurts the entire company.

“There’s something great about being an entrepreneur and being smart enough to execute and make mistakes in under-the-radar areas, before you stumble on something that’s really huge.”

He said the people who do not invest in bitcoin – which at $4,613 ($4,311.16, £3,696.08) per coin represents a 13% drop over the past month – “can use that money to buy a nice house or college education for their kids or whatever – to use that money to be good parents or teachers.”

In his keynote speech at this year’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York, the Silicon Valley veteran also touched on other technology and social issues.

His discussion about the rise of artificial intelligence in the workplace started with a warning that if we did not start thinking about this problem now, the future workforce might not be educated to understand it.

“We need a separation of work and home. There is a great argument that today’s work is really social, that the way that we work is now part of our social fabric.

“Work should be flexible … and you should be able to do it at any time and from anywhere – that’s good for work, that’s good for productivity.

“On the other hand, I worry that work itself will become less valuable to people.”

Reuters/BBC

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