In brief

  • The billionaire TV personality and Dallas Mavericks owner weighed in on crypto.
  • He’s a huge fan of DeFi in general and smart contracts in particular.
  • He doesn’t believe crypto will be accepted as currencies, however.

In a podcast, billionaire entrepreneur, investor, Shark Tank star, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban sat down with The Defiant to talk about why he’s bullish on crypto in general and DeFi in particular, and why he’s still skeptical about Bitcoin as a currency.

Over the hour, Cuban remained adamant that Bitcoin isn’t a currency so much as it is a store of value: “To this day, I’m not a believer that Bitcoin will become a currency,” he declared. “What’s really changed was that people started recognizing that it’s only a store of value.” 

Cuban: A Modern Nostradamus 

Cuban made several predictions that revealed his optimism about blockchain’s future. He said governments across the world may create their own digital coins because it’s cheaper: “We lose money on every penny and nickel minted. There’s just so much cost and stupidity associated with how we’ve always done things.”

He went on to call fiat money “untenable and unsustainable” before adding that he’s not sure “if we’ll actually see everything collapse.” However, he predicted that as governments get more into digital currencies, he can see them selling off a percentage of their gold reserves and putting their earnings into BTC or ETH.

He conceded that ultimately he doesn’t know. “A lot of this is trust: What do you trust? Who do you trust? How do you trust it? Bitcoiners, rightfully so, trust algorithmic scarcity. And that's okay. But there's a lot of underpinning trust that goes in there as well. You’ve got to trust electricity rates, availability, that nobody can get to 51%.” For those that don’t know: “51%” refers to the proportion of computing power needed on a blockchain network to hijack that network. At this point in time it looks pretty darn hard to do a takeover on that scale, but Cuban counsels caution anyway. 

One analogy he returns to throughout the podcast compares blockchain’s rise to that of the internet, in that there were initial, limited, early adopter applications before the whole thing became ubiquitous. Cuban sees smart contracts as the pivotal moment when crypto “just blew up” and a major threat to the banking system. For that reason, he said “Ethereum has an advantage over Bitcoin for regular people.”

But what are smart contracts?

Get Smart with Ethereum

Cuban’s love of decentralized finance (DeFi) goes hand in hand with his love of Ethereum, a blockchain that was created to support smart contracts. DeFi services have built an entire financial infrastructure on top of the blockchain, using smart contracts (automated blockchain contracts) to create protocols that replace existing financial services in ways that, thanks to blockchain, are unprecedentedly transparent and interoperable. 

Said Cuban: “Smart contracts are real and remind me of the early days of the internet. With just HTML and some basic JavaScript, you could do a whole lot of business. It’s becoming friction-free banking. It’s easier to borrow in seconds. If you’ve got $200 in Ether or Bitcoin and you want to wrap it, and then you want to borrow $100 at 2.3% it takes you fifteen seconds. That’s incredible. That really begins to disrupt the banking industry.”

None of this really comes as a surprise if you’ve been following Cuban lately. He recently said DeFi was fairer to users than stock trading app Robinhood and, on a WallStreetBets AMA, he said DeFi could explode in the next ten years. 

There you have it. Mark Cuban is bullish on blockchain.