On Tuesday (August 6), Kevin O’Leary (aka “Mr. Wonderful”), one of the “sharks'” (i.e. venture capital investors) on American reality TV series “Shark Tank” attacked Anthony Pompliano (aka “Pomp”), Co-Founder and Partner at Morgan Creek Digital Assets, over the latter’s claim that being a non-correlated asymmetric asset makes Bitcoin a good hedge against global turmoil.
O’Leary and Pompliano were appearing as guests on CNBC’s pre-market morning news and talk program “Squawk Box”, which was being co-hosted by Melissa Lee and Andrew Ross Sorkin.
Lee started the segment titled “Markets in Turmoil” by asking Pompliano how much longer the narrative of Bitcoin as a safe haven asset would continue.
Institutions have spent decades looking for non-correlated assets they can use as a diversification of portfolio. We’ve been banging the drum for over a year now saying that this is a non-correlated asymmetric asset. If you look at times of global instability like in May, where we are kind of lobbing tariff threats and the trade wars are raging on, bitcoin is up 55%. It’s got a negative correlation, so it’s -0.9 to S&P negative -0.8 to gold. I think we’re going to continue to see that play out.
Lee then asked Pompliano if some of the price rise in Bitcoin that we saw over the past couple of days was due to the threat of a currency war between the U.S. and China, and Sorkin asked him if the price rise was caused by Chinese investors buying Bitcoin as a hedge or by other investors buying Bitcoin (and thereby pushing the price up) based on their thinking that there will be “outflows from China.”
Pompliano said that he thought that it was probably a combination of the two.
A bit later on, O’Leary, who admitted to being a cryptocurrency skeptic, asked Pompliano why his small test portfolio of $100 worth of crypto he had purchased over two years ago as part of a night class at Harvard Business School was now only worth $30.62. o’Leary said that most of this unrealized loss was due to the poor performance of the altcoins he had bought. He then asked Pompliano this question:
If this is really such a great idea, why is there really only one Vegas game working?
Pomp said that he was there to talk about Bitcoin and Bitcoin was the only cryptocurrency worth buying.
When O’Leary asked Pomp how much he had invested in Bitcoin, Pomp answered that 50% of his net worth is in Bitcoin.
This made O’Leary very angry:
I forbid that! That’s insane! That breaches everything about diversification investing… I teach this stuff… 50%? Shame on you! That’s nuts!