Earlier this summer, Citadel founder and billionaire money manager Ken Griffin spoke out in favor of cryptocurrencies, even though the investment guru had previously compared the crypto space to the 17th-century Dutch tulip craze, or tulipmania. Most recently, though, according to QZ, Griffin went so far as to say that "there's no need for cryptocurrencies."
With these statements, Griffin has joined a list of top investment figures who have been vocal about their dislike of the digital currency world for any number of reasons. But what is the source of Griffin's opprobrium?
'A Solution in Search of a Problem'
Griffin made his most recent remarks to New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin, who also appears on CNBC. When Sorkin asked Griffin a question about Citadel employees putting pressure on the company leader to enter the crypto space, Griffin wasted no time in correcting what he saw as an incorrect statement. "I don't have a single portfolio manager who has told me we should buy crypto," Griffin explained. He added that cryptocurrencies are "a solution in search of a problem."
Griffin didn't elaborate, so it's difficult to glean more information on his views. Still, one may assume that the money manager believes that the technology that cryptocurrencies are intending to replace—fiat currency—is not in need of replacement at all.
Citadel as Market Maker
Even with his criticism of digital tokens, Griffin has debated whether to make markets for investors who are interested in taking part in the cryptocurrency game. Specifically, this could be done through his market-making business Citadel Securities, a separate company from his primary firm. Still, though, Griffin has expressed hesitation at the thought of doing so, saying that he has "a hard time thinking about" taking part in the trading of a product that he is so skeptical of.
Griffin is far from the only major player in the financial world to speak harshly about digital currencies. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has been similarly outspoken, calling cryptocurrencies a "fraud." However, that has not stopped Dimon from launching a crypto strategy. Many other analysts and economists have theorized that the space is a bubble ready to pop. Nonetheless, investors around the world remain tempted by the promise of quick and easy returns.
Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns bitcoin and ripple.