Fake news on CNBC: Bitcoin, Google, Amazon, Facebook, Gold are not investments

Did CNBC really say that Bitcoin, along with some of the best-performing stocks of the decade, is not an investment? – Yes and no. In a piece called “Don’t buy bitcoin, warns wealth manager: We’re likely ‘going to see cryptocurrencies collapse”, they quote one Peter Mallouk – J.D., MBA, CFP® saying “You get no income. It’s not a real investment. It’s speculation”.

Instead, invest in “things that are going to pay you to own them. Own real estate, where you’re collecting rent. Own stocks, where you’re collecting dividends. Own bonds, where you’re collecting yield.” He does claim that Bitcoin is not an investment and it seems the main line of his argument is the fact that Bitcoin doesn’t provide any income. However, then the aforementioned stocks, along with a myriad of other stocks and zero-coupon bonds and all the commodities including gold and all the fiat currencies, and many other traditional financial instruments are guilty of not being investments by association or extrapolation.

Let me backtrack and state that I believe an opinion that Bitcoin is not an investment, but pure speculation and will end up at zero one day is a perfectly legitimate opinion. Furthermore, I would generally agree with his statement “What we’re going to see, most likely, is, we’re going to see [most]cryptocurrencies collapse”. However, the reasoning provided by Mr. Mallouk and/or CNBC is dubious at best. And this line of reasoning does lead us to the provocative conclusion in the title of this article. If CNBC is conveying Mr. Mallouk’s creed correctly, I would like to ask him if his firm Creative Planning refrains from offering all those investments to the clients, but perhaps, offers XTZ?

“Blockchain technology is real and you’ve got big companies like IBM and Accenture and others investing in it, that doesn’t mean that bitcoin is going to work out or ripple is going to work out. The TV worked out, but everything that comes out of it, we don’t want to watch”, continues Mr. Mallouk his insightful discourse.

Firstly, let me point out that either Mr. Mallouk got his chronology wrong or perhaps, it’s another case of faulty analytical reasoning (who would have thought that my hours of studying for GMAT and GRE would come in handy one day)! First, there was Bitcoin, and technology geeks saw that it was good, and this was the first case of the modern blockchain. And then Bitcoin begot all the other blockchain technologies including the ones that are being used by all those companies.

Thus, in Mr. Mallouk’s analogy, no one should care about what IBM and Accenture are doing since in his analogy Bitcoin is like TV and IBM and Accenture is all the stuff “we don’t want to watch” that came after.

Also, let me give special kudos to CNBC for quoting Jamie Dimon: Bitcoin “is a fraud” and forgetting to mention that he later regretted ever saying it (as reported by CNBC), and abjuring from mentioning that JPMorgan is issuing its own coin (as reported by CNBC). All in all, very high journalistic standards – get an expert who lacks erudition to talk about blockchain and cryptocurrency, selective quotation, a catchy title; and, voilà: another great piece by CNBC is ready for showtime!

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