According to billionaire Bill Miller, the founder and Chief Investment Officer of investment firm Miller Value Partners, Bitcoin (BTC) is an “insurance policy against financial catastrophe”.
On May 24, Miller appeared on an episode of the “Richer, Wiser, Happier” podcast to support cryptocurrencies as a way for folks caught up in war to still access financial products. As an example, he cited the breakdown of Afghanistan’s banking system following the US exit in August 2021.
“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 explained that instances of how cryptocurrency can be used as insurance don’t have to be “all or nothing,” citing the performance of Bitcoin during the early stages of the epidemic and the Federal Reserve’s response.
“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.”
“The way I see it, it’s an insurance policy,” he added.
Miller also slammed Warren Buffett’s recent critique of Bitcoin, claiming that “it doesn’t generate anything” and that he “wouldn’t take” all of 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 clarified his statement, saying, “The goal of investing is not to hold productive assets; the goal is to create money.”
Miller is most known for managing a portfolio that outperformed the S&P 500 index for 15 years in a row, from 1991 to 2005. He’s also known for his support of Bitcoin, having invested half of his net worth in the cryptocurrency in January.
When questioned if he still retained that position, Miller said that “40 percent to 50 percent” of his money was invested in Amazon shares, and that his Bitcoin holdings were “about the same as Amazon,” with the two assets accounting for 80% of his net worth.
After the Terra ecosystem collapsed, Miller discussed the Luna-based tattoo on the arm of Mike Novogratz, the founder of crypto asset management business Galaxy Digital:
“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.”
As Galaxy Digital reported a $300 million loss on its Luna investments, Novogratz stated the tattoo will serve as a “continuous reminder that venture investing takes humility.”
“I felt awful for him when I saw a story about him going from $10 billion to $2 billion,” Miller recalled, “and I was like, yeah, that’s pretty tragic.”