In brief

  • Warren Buffett, who once said Bitcoin had “no unique value at all”, saw his firm lose close to $50 billion.
  • Investment firm Berkshire Hathaway suffered major losses due to the coronavirus crisis hitting common stock investments.
  • The famed investor still has no faith in Bitcoin—although the cryptocurrency has made a remarkable recovery since Black Thursday.

The investment firm run by Warren Buffett, one of Bitcoin’s most outspoken critics, has posted record losses of nearly $50 billion last quarter after its financials took a hit from the coronavirus pandemic.  

The legendary investor saw his investment conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway, lose $49.75 billion, or $30,653 per share, due to the COVID-19 pandemic hitting its common stock investments. 

But the firm’s operating profit—the amount a company generates, without deducting interest and taxes—rose nearly 6 percent to $5.87 billion. (Buffett considers operating profit a better performance measure than net earnings.)

Nearly all of Berkshire’s 90 companies, which include Coca Cola, Bank of America, Apple and American Express, have been injured by COVID-19.

Charlie Munger, the company’s Vice Chairman, last month said that some of the businesses that make up the conglomerate might have to close. 

The stock market has taken a severe beating since the coronavirus plunged the world into chaos; the global economy is at a standstill as most countries employ strict lockdown measures. 

Though not traditionally aligned to the ebb and flow of mainstream finance, Bitcoin—and other cryptocurrencies—also suffered record losses in March as the stock market crashed. 

But since Bitcoin’s darkest days in the middle of March, the largest cryptocurrency by market cap has made a heroic recovery. And ahead of the cryptocurrency halving later this month, trading volumes of Bitcoin futures have surged to record highs.  

Buffett—one of the world’s richest men—has long been a critic of Bitcoin, calling the cryptocurrency “rat poison squared” and saying it has “no unique value at all.” 

And this year, the billionaire investor reportedly told Tron CEO Justin Sun (during their much-publicized dinner date) that although blockchain technology could be a “disruptive” force in finance, Bitcoin does not provide additional value. 

“Bitcoin cannot capture the value of blockchain. Just because something has value doesn’t make it a good investment,” Buffett purportedly said.

2020 may just be the year that sees the “Oracle of Omaha” eat his words.