Bill Miller the billionaire founder and Chief Investment Officer of investment firm Miller Value Partners, has said he considers Bitcoin (BTC) an “insurance policy against financial catastrophe.”
Appearing on an episode of the “Richer, Wiser, Happier” podcast on May 24 Miller backed the cryptocurrency as a means for those caught in conflict to still access financial products. He used the collapse of financial infrastructure in Afghanistan after the US withdrawal in August 2021 as an example.
“When the US pulled out of Afghanistan, Western Union stopped sending remittances there or taking them from Afghanistan, but if you had Bitcoin, you were fine. Your Bitcoin is there. You can send it to anybody in the world if you have a phone.”
Miller said examples of how the crypto can function as insurance don’t “have to be all or nothing” and noted how Bitcoin performed during the early stages of the pandemic and the Federal Reserve’s reaction to it.
“When the Fed stepped in and started gunning the money supply and bailing out, in essence, the mortgage rates […] Bitcoin functioned fine. There was no run on Bitcoin. The system functioned without the Fed and without any interference. Everybody got their Bitcoin, the price adjusted, and then when the Bitcoiners realized, ‘Wait, we’re going to have inflation down the road,’ Bitcoin went through the roof.”
“It’s an insurance policy, the way I look at it,” he added.
Miller also rebuked Warren Buffett’s recent criticism of Bitcoin where the billionaire investor famously remarked that “it doesn’t produce anything” and he “wouldn’t take” all the Bitcoin in the world for even $25.
“He’s said that Bitcoin is a non-productive asset and therefore he can’t value it. Fair enough. If the only thing that you think you can value are productive assets, then no one’s making you buy it, right? So ignore it.”
He later followed up his comment, adding “the objective of investing is not to own productive assets, the objective is to make money”.
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Miller is famous for managing a portfolio which for 15 consecutive years between 1991 and 2005 consistently beat the returns of the S&P 500 index. He’s also known for his advocacy of Bitcoin and put half of his net worth into the asset in January.
When asked if he still held that position Miller confirmed that about “40% to 50%” of his money was in Amazon stock and his Bitcoin holdings were “about the same as Amazon”, adding that 80% of his net worth is split between the two assets.
Miller also discussed the Luna-based tattoo on the arm of Mike Novogratz, the founder of crypto asset management firm Galaxy Digital after the collapse of the Terra ecosystem:
“Somebody had sent me a picture of Mike Novogratz where he got a Luna tattoo on his arm months ago of the wolf howling at the moon, and it’s big. It’s like, whoops, maybe you should have got a Bitcoin on your arm, it’d be a little more enduring than that one.”
Novogratz has said that the tattoo will be a “constant reminder that venture investing requires humility” as Galaxy Digital posted a $300 million loss on its Luna investments.
“I felt bad for him when I saw some story of him going from something like $10 billion to $2 billion,” Miller said, “I’m like, yeah, that’s really tragic”.