Is Bitcoin An Enron In The Making?

Billionaire investor and Saudi Arabian prince Alwaleed bin Talal dismissed Bitcoin on Monday (Oct. 23), saying on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that he expects the value of the unregulated cryptocurrency to “implode.”

The Saudi prince heads Kingdom Holding, a conglomerate based in Saudi Arabia with investments in Citigroup, Apple and Twitter.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” he said. “This thing is not regulated, it’s not under control, it’s not under the supervision [of any financial authority]. I just don’t believe in this Bitcoin thing. I think it’s just going to implode one day. I think this is Enron in the making.”

The Saudi billionaire was referring to the 2001 bankruptcy of Enron, which resulted from widespread accounting fraud, CNBC noted.

Bitcoin is available for trade in Saudi Arabia, the CNBC article reported. The Saudi Monetary Ministry, however, warned in a Twitter post that trading in the currency may have “negative consequences” for the finances of those who choose to invest.

The value of the cryptocurrency has risen more than 500 percent in 2017, hitting a record high of $6,100 on Saturday, Oct. 21. Coindesk reports prices fell to $5,718 on Monday (Oct. 23). This comes in spite of a split of the cryptocurrency into Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash in August and a Chinese crackdown on digital coins in September, according to CNBC.

CNBC also reported that Bitcoin prices surges are due, in part, to interest among Japanese investors. According to CryptoCompare, Japanese yen accounted for 62 percent of total trading volume on Monday, while U.S. dollars accounted for approximately 20 percent.

The Saudi Arabian billionaire investor joins a chorus of voices maintaining skepticism of Bitcoin, with JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon calling the cryptcurrency a “fraud” last month and Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, referring to Bitcoin an “index of money laundering.”

Despite skepticism regarding unregulated cryptocurrencies, financial institutions — including JPMorgan — have shown interest in the blockchain technology that supports them.


New PYMNTS Report: Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook – July 2020 

Call it the great tug-of-war. Fraudsters are teaming up to form elaborate rings that work in sync to launch account takeovers. Chris Tremont, EVP at Radius Bank, tells PYMNTS that financial institutions (FIs) can beat such highly organized fraudsters at their own game. In the July 2020 Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook, Tremont lays out how.