Bitcoin prices are not in great shape. Many investors and observers are wondering whether the top cryptocurrency by market value will soon return to its highs posted last November or if has left for a period of decline known as crypto winter.
Well, if bitcoin is now prompting everyone to agree one of aspect of the cryptocurrency, it is its reputation.
For the past few weeks bitcoin has been scoring victories on this front. Crypto is no longer seen in a bad light by the Biden administration in view of the presidential executive order that advises federal agencies/regulators not to stifle innovation.
The White House has also revived the idea of a digital dollar.
And then there are the classic finance superstars, who one after another are saying they were wrong about digital currencies, and more specifically bitcoin.
“I simply think that, you know, the crypto coins are a bubble. I do think there are survivors,” Gross said. “I do think we need an alternative to the dollar as we’ve seen in the last week or two and that you know, there will be several survivors and I’m invested to a small extent in bitcoin.”
Not a Fan of NFTs
Gross does not say how many bitcoins he holds or when he bought them.
He explained trying to choose among the winners of the new finance. And if he seems to believe in bitcoin, this is not the case for nonfungible tokens.
“The phenomena of NFTs is the same way and reminds me of when my kids were collecting Beanie Babies,” Gross said.
Gross, 77, co-founded California-based Pimco in 1971 and rose to the pinnacle of the financial world after building it into a fixed-income behemoth. In 2014, he left the firm following clashes with other executives
The financier has a complicated history with cryptocurrencies and especially with bitcoin.
The young retiree Gross was initially open to bitcoin.
In 2016, the king of bonds believed that bitcoin could be a safe-haven asset for investors fleeing volatility and falling interest rates.
"“Bitcoin and privately agreed upon blockchain technologies amongst a small set of global banks are just a few examples of attempts to stabilize the value of their current assets in future purchasing power terms,” he wrote on Bloomberg in October 2016. “Gold would be another example -- historic relic that it is. In any case, the current system is beginning to be challenged.”
But in the midst of cryptomania in December 2017, Gross completely changed tune. He felt that bitcoin was a poor substitute for both fiat and gold. He justified his decision by the fact that it was difficult to use bitcoin to make payments.
“It is not really a currency alternative at the moment,” Gross told Bloomberg Television. “Buying a bag of groceries at the grocery store is going to be a little difficult.”
Bitcoin would also not be an alternative investment in times of economic crisis, according to Gross. The famed financier also reiterated that bitcoin's high volatility was one of the reasons it would not serve as a viable store of value.
Gross Likes Meme Stocks
Five years later, he has changed his tune again. But he is not alone.
By becoming a bitcoin investor, Gross joins a list of big names in traditional finance who are converting to digital currencies.
"Crypto has been one of the great stories in finance over the course of the last 15 years. And I’ll be clear, I’ve been in the naysayer camp over that period of time," billionaire Ken Griffin said recently. "But the crypto market today has a market capitalization of about $2 trillion in round numbers, which tells you that I haven’t been right on this call."
"I have a tiny percentage on it on my portfolio to diversify," billionaire and hedge-funder Ray Dalio said in February.
In the same interview with CNBC, Gross also confirms that he continues to bet on the same stocks, which are also among the favorites of crypto fans, especially on the Reddit forums.
“I am still trading GameStop (GME) - Get GameStop Corporation Report and AMC (AMC) - Get AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. Class A Report. These are lottery-ticket stocks,” the investor said Thursday in a wide-ranging interview with Brian Sullivan.
“The volatility on these options that I’m dealing with is so high that if you sell the options out of the money, which take GameStop around $120. Now, I’m selling four-month calls at $200 and capturing $12 or $13 per option of because the volatility’s like 120%,” Gross added.
The frenzy in GameStop and AMC shook Wall Street in January 2021 as retail investors piled into those stocks and call options, causing massive short squeezes that burned many short-selling hedge funds.