Wood, Kiyosaki, Byrne Call Out Munger for Fiery Tesla, Crypto Comments

   2023-02-20 04:02

  • Charlie Munger denounced crypto and touted BYD over Tesla in a polarizing interview.
  • Cathie Wood, Robert Kiyosaki, and Patrick Byrne fired back after his comments.
  • Warren Buffett’s 99-year-old business partner doesn’t appreciate Tesla’s innovation, Wood said.

Charlie Munger panned bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as stupid, worthless, and dangerous during Daily Journal‘s recent annual meeting.

The 99-year-old billionaire and vice-chairman of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway also declared that Tesla‘s chief rival, BYD, was absurdly far ahead of Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle company in China.

Munger’s incendiary words incited strong retorts from Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood, “Rich Dad Poor Dad” author Robert Kiyosaki, and former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne. In contrast, “Dr. Doom” economist Nouriel Roubini endorsed the legendary investor’s crypto critique.

Here’s how 4 top commentators reacted to Munger’s fiery comments:

1. Cathie Wood, CEO of Ark Invest

“Charlie Munger and many on Wall Street do not understand that passing along the lower costs associated with technologically-enabled innovation, in #Tesla‘s case batteries and drivetrains, will cause a boom in unit demand, discrediting the Keynesian/Fed’s Phillips Curve model,” Wood tweeted on Saturday.

The technology investor’s view is that Tesla’s innovations will drive down its costs, enabling it to slash prices and supercharge demand without sacrificing its profits margins. Wood also expects tech advances to alleviate US inflation, paving the way for the Federal Reserve to reduce interest rates and fuel economic growth.

Wood’s perspective appears to be that if Tesla can cut prices without harming its margins, while lower rates and a strong economy underpin robust demand for its cars, it can crush competitors like BYD.

2. Robert Kiyosaki, author of “Rich Dad Poor Dad”

“Charlie Munger’s an old man like me,” Kiyosaki said in a recent interview with Stansberry Research.

“The reason I like crypto is not bitcoin, it’s because of blockchain, which is an accounting system,” Kiyosaki said. “It’s more legitimate than the Fed or the Treasury or Wall Street. So Charlie Munger is in the Fed/Treasury/Wall Street crowd, and the younger generations, millennials and below, are in the iPhone crowd.”

Kiyosaki’s view is that Munger belongs to an older generation of Americans who like and trust the mainstream financial system, whereas younger people — who grasp newer tech like Apple’s iPhone — are more eager to disrupt the status quo.

3. Patrick Byrne, ex-CEO of Overstock

“Munger is the most overrated mind in America,” Byrne tweeted on Friday about the investor’s crypto comments.

“If Buffett had not picked him up, Munger would’ve been the wealthiest good lawyer in LA,” he continued. “The one great idea he ‘found and hammered all the way to heaven’ is explaining how everyone else’s good ideas were obvious, curmudgeonly.”

Byrne ran Berkshire-owned Fechheimer Brothers for a couple of years in the late 1990s, and his father led Berkshire-owned Geico between 1976 and 1985. The former Overstock CEO has described Buffett as his “Omaha rabbi” and a key mentor, but he’s clearly much less of a Munger fan.

4. Nouriel Roubini, economics professor at NYU Stern

“Those in favor of crypto are IDIOTS! Well said. But they are idiot crooks!” Roubini tweeted on Friday in response to Munger’s crypto assault.

The NYU Stern economist, whose penchant for pessimistic predictions has earned him the nickname “Dr. Doom,” shares Munger’s disdain for crypto.

“Very well said! Ban altogether this crypto scam!” Roubini responded to Munger’s recent call for the US government to ban crypto.

Moreover, Roubini retweeted a Quartz article in 2018 that highlighted Munger’s comments from Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting that year.

“To me, it’s just dementia,” Munger said about crypto’s growing popularity at the time. “It’s like somebody else is trading turds and you decide you can’t be left out.”

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