Bitcoin has always divided the old guard and the young guard of finance.
It has often been presented as a fight between Wall Street and the people, or in a more recent version Wall Street against the young amateur traders of Reddit.
The reason for this clash is that the old guard is supposedly opposed to the emergence and flourishing of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, because this new industry is disrupting traditional finance.
Traditional or legacy finance, through its exclusive codes, allows the old guard to retain its power and maintain the status quo.
The young guard, on the other hand, is in favor of crypto because these digital currencies and blockchain, the underlying technology, want to democratize finance and remove all the barriers that exclude millions of people from the financial system because their skin color, their gender, their country or their economic background.
Crypto and bitcoin are borderless and permissionless, proponents like to repeat.
This debate or confrontation has gained even more intensity with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Bitcoin Going Mainstream
The armed conflict that prompted NATO countries to impose economic sanctions on Russia, propelling crypto to the forefront, showing that digital currencies could be used in everyday life.
Bitcoin and crypto were not, as their detractors often repeated, tools used by criminals to launder money. The discovery of these new use cases of crypto is supposed to contribute to their mainstream adoption, industry sources say.
As if to prove them right, big names on Wall Street like hedge funder Ken Griffin, financier Ray Dalio and the legendary Bill Gross recently admitted that their past criticisms of bitcoin and crypto were no longer valid.
Griffin even went so far as to say that Citadel Securities will trade crypto in the near future.
"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," Griffin said last month. "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."
"It’s fair to assume that over the months to come, you will see us engage in making markets in cryptocurrencies," the billionaire added.
This embrace of classic financiers was mocked by bitcoin champions.
But other bitcoin critics like iconic investor Warren Buffett are sticking to their guns. That is what irritates billionaire and entrepreneur Peter Thiel.
In a noteworthy speech at the Bitcoin 2022 Conference in Miami, he claimed that it's the financial titans' fault that bitcoin hasn't yet reached the symbolic threshold of $100,000 a coin.
This mark is one of the most watched by bitcoin evangelists. They believe that when it is crossed it will be difficult to curb the rise of the most popular cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin had reached $69,044.77 on Nov. 10 but fell back. Prices are currently moving between $43,000 and $47,000.
"What is it going to take for this to happen?" Thiel asked. He then blamed Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) - Get Free Report, whom he called a "sociopath grandpa," as well as Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase (JPM) - Get Free Report, and Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, according to Bloomberg.
Buffett is 91, Dimon is 66 and Fink is 69.
Thiel accused the three men, who are bitcoin' skeptics, to use investing practices focused on ESG (environment, social and governance) as a "hate factory" against bitcoin.
He labelled them a "finance gerontocracy" opposed to a "revolutionary youth movement."
Thiel, 54, a mega donor to former president Donald Trump's campaigns, also attacked Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Jerome Powell.
"Mr. Powell, people like that, should be extremely grateful to bitcoin because it's the last warning they are going to get," Thiel said. "They've chosen to ignore it, and they will have to pay the consequences for that in the years ahead."
The Fed, like other federal agencies, is currently working on regulation of the crypto sphere. The institution is also working on a digital dollar after initially expressing reluctance.