Billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel threw his support behind bitcoin while speaking at the Future Investment Initiative in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, comparing the cryptocurrency to gold, CNBC reports.
Thiel’s support for bitcoin comes after some of the biggest names in finance, including Jamie Dimon and Ray Dalio, have recently dismissed the digital currency’s potential.
“I’m skeptical of most of them (cryptocurrencies), I do think people are a little bit … underestimating bitcoin especially because … it’s like a reserve form of money, it’s like gold, and it’s just a store of value. You don’t need to use it to make payments,” Thiel said.“If bitcoin ends up being the cyber equivalent of gold it has a great potential left.”
Thiel’s optimism in bitcoin is a marked difference from Dimon’s view of the increasingly popular cryptocurrency, with the JPMorgan chief executive calling it “a fraud,” while predicting that things “won’t end well” for investors who’ve put money into it. Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, has said that while bitcoin “could work conceptually,” he sees it as “a highly speculative market” that he considers to now be “a bubble.”
Meanwhile, Thiel expressed confidence in bitcoin’s security as a currency while speaking on Thursday.
Thiel said that bitcoin is based on the “security of the math” which means it can’t be hacked and it’s secure. The PayPal founder and venture capitalist compared some of bitcoin’s features to gold.
“Bitcoin is mineable like gold, it’s hard to mine, it’s actually harder to mine than gold. And so in that sense it’s more constrained,” Thiel said.
The cryptocurrency has a limited supply and only 21 million bitcoin will be mined.
Bitcoin has surged 500 percent this year, hitting a record high above $6,100 last week.
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