Were you wondering what Jack Bogle thinks of Bitcoin?
If so, and you were hoping for some kind of pseudo-endorsement from the father of indexing, you are going to be severely disappointed.
Over the past nine months, we’ve spent a lot of time explaining all of the myriad things wrong with Bitcoin as a “currency” and also with Bitcoin as an “investment”. The former discussion is more nuanced, but the latter is straightforward: it’s not an “investment” because i) there’s nothing there, and ii) because there’s nothing there, all you’re doing is betting that you’re not the last “fool” in the chain.
This is speculation, plain and simple.
It’s the “greater fool” theory of “investing” although in this case, it’s not even that because Bitcoin is not backed by anything. You’re effectively betting that someone will be willing to pay more than you pay for something that isn’t real. This is the stuff of nightmares for someone like Bogle.
So as Bitcoin hits $10,000 (which it basically did on Tuesday), someone made the mistake of asking the 88-year-old Bogle about it at a Council on Foreign Relations event in New York. Here’s what he said:
Bitcoin has no underlying rate of return. You know bonds have an interest coupon, stocks have earnings and dividends, gold has nothing.
There is nothing to support bitcoin except the hope that you will sell it to someone for more than you paid for it.
It’s crazy to invest in the digital asset. Bitcoin may well go to $20,000 but that won’t prove I’m wrong. When it gets back to $100, we’ll talk.
Is that clear enough for you?
That’s ok, because Bogle went further, adding this:
Avoid bitcoin like the plague. Did I make myself clear?
Crystal, sir. Crystal.