Crypto venture capitalist: View bitcoin as a survivor like Amazon after the 1990s dot-com bubble
Investing in bitcoin is not for the faint of heart, but over any given two-year period holders of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency have been rewarded, CryptoOracle partner Lou Kerner told CNBC on Wednesday.
Kerner, whose venture capital firm supports what it calls the “decentralized digital economy,” has a much longer investment horizon.
For example, he said on “Worldwide Exchange,” “If you go back to the internet bubble, which is what a lot of us in crypto look at for direction, Amazon, arguably one of the greatest companies in the history of the mankind, was down over 95 percent over two years.”
In May 1997, Amazon went public at $18 per share. The stock soared, splitting in June 1998, and continued to climb to more than $300 per share by December 1998. Amazon executed its only two other splits in January and September of 1999 right before the dot-com bubble burst in March 2000. In September 2001, Amazon traded for under $6 per share.
Fast forward, Amazon in September 2018 became the second U.S. company to eclipse a stock market value of more than $1 trillion. (Apple was the first, a month before.) But since its all-time high of $2,050 per share on Sept. 4, Amazon lost 27 percent in the October and November rout as of Tuesday’s close.
However, Kerner said that kind of volatility, while troubling, is nothing compared to what longtime bitcoin investors must endure. “There was a day in 2013 when we were down 70 percent overnight. Nobody likes being down like this. But this is what investing in crypto is all about.”
Bitcoin became a phenomenon in 2017, skyrocketing from about $3,600 per coin to more than $19,000 in December of that year. But by February 2018, it fell under $7,000. After bouncing around for most of this year, bitcoin plunged about 30 percent over seven sessions to about $4,100 as of Tuesday. Other cryptocurrencies fared much worse. But bitcoin was actually up nearly 3 percent in early Wednesday trading.
“Crypto has been so weak because most of it there’s no underlying value outside of confidence,” Kerner said. “[But] bitcoin, itself, we think is going to replace gold eventually. Gold is an $8 trillion thing.”
“I think it’s a store of value. I think it’s the greatest store of value ever created,” he added. “It should surpass gold over time. It won’t happen overnight.”
Kerner isn’t the only crypto investor who believes bitcoin will become the new gold. But there’s plenty of skepticism among many Wall Street veterans, including J.P. Morgan chief Jamie Dimon who in September 2017 called bitcoin a fraud only to walk back those comments a bit about three months later.
In putting his faith in bitcoin, Kerner said he subscribes to Amara’s law, which was coined by Stanford professor Roy Amara in the 1970s. It holds that the impact of all great technological change is overestimated in the short run, and subsequently underestimated in the long run. But in the meantime, he said he’s “holding on for dear life.”