Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is doubling down on his bitcoin criticism.
The Berkshire Hathaway CEO said he is sympathetic to optimists who bought the world's largest cryptocurrency in hopes that "it would change their lives." Bitcoin has lost more than 80 percent of its value since reaching a high near $20,000 at the end of 2017. The cryptocurrency was trading near $3,781 on Monday, according to CoinDesk.
"It attracts charlatans," Buffett said. "If you do something phony by going out and selling yo-yos or something, there's no money in it — but when you get into Wall Street, there's huge money."
Buffett has been a long-time critic of cryptocurrency. He called bitcoin "probably rat poison squared," ahead of the 2018 Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. A "mirage," "not a currency," and "tulips" are among the descriptors Buffett has used for bitcoin, according to CNBC's Warren Buffett Archive.
In the interview Monday, he did point to potential in bitcoin's "important" underlying technology blockchain but said its success does not depend on cryptocurrency.
Buffett is not alone in his skepticism. Business leaders including Bill Gates, economists Nouriel Roubini and Robert Shiller, and fund managers Ray Dalio and Howard Marks are among those who have questioned bitcoin's legitimacy. J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon was also a vocal critic of bitcoin. Yet earlier this month, J.P. Morgan became the first major bank to launch its own proprietary cryptocurrency for cross-border payments.