Thomas Peterffy, the billionaire founder and chairman of Interactive Brokers, has never been a huge fan of bitcoin. But his bearishness reached new highs this week, when he took out a full page ad in The Wall Street Journal, warning Commodity Futures Trading Commision Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo of the dangers of bitcoin.
Despite the dramatic gesture, Peterffy, who some call "the father of high speed trading," insists he doesn't actually oppose trading the cryptocurrency. He just thinks it needs to stay far away from the "real economy."
"I think bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are great ideas. They should be allowed to be traded freely and used freely to find their appropriate role in the economy," Peterffy said Wednesday on
"What I am objecting to is linking bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by federal regulations to the real economy, which would happen if we were to clear bitcoin along with other products in the same trading house," he said
Peterffy is reacting to news from CME Group CEO Terry Duffy, who earlier this month announced bitcoin futures would debut on the CME by the end of the year.
Peterffy called this move "suicidal."
"Bitcoin has risen by 1,000 percent over the last year. It went from 700 to 7,000 -- there is nothing to say it wouldn't go to 70,0000," Peterffy said.
He argued that even 20 percent limit up or down on bitcoin, as Duffy has suggested, wouldn't protect against bitcoin's volatility.
"It could bring down the entire economy," he said.