First, Mark Cuban got into Ethereum. Now his Shark Tank co-host has announced his arrival to Bitcoin.
Canadian businessman Kevin O’Leary, known to fans of the investor reality show as “Mr. Wonderful,” said today he will invest 3% of his portfolio in Bitcoin despite calling the crypto asset “garbage” less than two years ago.
“Changes in the regulatory environment have changed my mind about participating,” he tweeted, referring to the recent practice of companies such as Microstrategy, Square, and Tesla buying Bitcoin. “I will also invest in sustainable miners to avoid ‘blood coins’.”
Last week, O’Leary suggested he had softened his stance toward cryptocurrencies. In an interview with CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on February 22, O’Leary said, “I actually think that digital currencies are here to stay.”
He went on to admit: “I’m holding a 3% weighting in it between Ethereum and Bitcoin. The volatility sickens me, but I’m getting used to it.”
Bitcoin may be here to stay but the price action can be excruciating to watch. Who better to talk crypto than Mr. Wonderful? @kevinolearytv
Here’s my take: @CNBCi pic.twitter.com/bCuOpijSEo
— Hadley Gamble (@_HadleyGamble) February 23, 2021
That’s quite a conversion from March 2019 when O’Leary said Bitcoin was “garbage because you can’t get in and out of it in large amounts.”
“Let’s say you want to buy a piece of real estate for $10 million in Switzerland,” he explained at the time. “They want a guarantee that the value comes back to the U.S. currency. You have to somehow hedge the risk of Bitcoin. That means it’s not a real currency. That means the receiver is not willing to take the risk of the volatility it has. It’s worthless.”
Even as recently as three weeks ago, he was bemoaning cryptocurrencies’ volatility. “Should I respect it? Yes, I’m not against it,” he told CNBC on February 10. “But would I put a lot of capital into it? No, I don’t want to own something that goes up and down 30% in a day or a week.” At the time, O’Leary said he owned less than $100 in crypto.
At that point, Microstrategy and Tesla had already sunk over $1 billion each into the cryptocurrency. In recent weeks, the former has upped its investment while payments firm Square has bought an additional $170 million.
O’Leary’s television colleague, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is in the middle of his own crypto coming-out party. Cuban recently told Decrypt, Ethereum will disrupt big tech companies’ business models. While Cuban says Bitcoin is “better than gold,” he’s much more focused on Ethereum given that blockchain’s smart contract functionality.
Not that it’s a competition, but O’Leary comes off as slightly more bullish, at the moment. He even has laser eyes.