Cryptos a "Solution in Search of a Problem," Says Billionaire Investor Ken Griffin

Avi Rosten

With hedge fund billionaires on all sides chipping on the state of cryptocurrency markets, one such investor has been keen to place himself firmly in the sceptical camp.

Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel Investment Group, today made it perfectly clear that he was not an admirer of the booming cryptocurrency industry. Talking at the Delivering Alpha Conference in New York, the 49-year old billionaire explained:

“I don’t have a single portfolio manager who has told me we should buy crypto, not a single portfolio manager…And in our market making business we’ve debated whether or not ot make markets in cryptocurrencies and I have a hard time fiding myself wanting to be in the position of being a liquidity provider for a product that I don’t believe in.”

Adding that he sees no function to cryptocurrencies at all:

“What people don’t understand with cryptocurrenices vs for example the USD, you have to have USD to pay your taxes at the end of the year…you don’t have a choice – there’s no need for crypotcurrencies – they’re a solution in search of a problem from my perspective.”

Billionaires Divided

With bitcoin prices soaring yesterday by nearly 10% in under an hour to break the significant $7,000 level – other hedge fund billionaires took the opportunity to express their confidence in bitcoin and crypto markets.

Marc Lasry, co-founder and CEO of hedge fund Avenue Capital Group, also talking at the Delivering Alpha Conference today told CNBC that he could see bitcoin (BTC) hitting $40,000 - adding that he has personally invested 1% of his wealth in the leading cryptocurrency.

Griffin however, not only sees the market going nowhere, but regrets what it could be doing to the economy - commenting that he hopes young investors were “in the companies that define the future of our country and pushing capital in a way that will create jobs, create innovation.”

The crypto economy however, would seem to be booming.

In April, startup vacancy website Angelist revealed that the number of jobs in the space had doubled since January – following a stellar 2017 for the crypto job market.

Perhaps more importantly, with innovation springing up from all corners of the crypto and blockchain industry, many within and without the space will not find Griffin’s concerns about business creativity particularly worrying.