TECH billionaire Peter Thiel this week issued a chilling warning about Bitcoin as its value continues to soar.
The PayPal founder said that the cryptocurrency should be treated as a “Chinese financial weapon” that threatens the global power of the US.
Thiel called for tighter restrictions on Bitcoin, which he said could undermine the status of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
The comments represent a change of heart for the mega investor, who has previously described Bitcoin as the “digital equivalent on gold”.
“I do wonder whether at this point, Bitcoin should also be thought [of] in part as a Chinese financial weapon against the US,” Thiel said during an appearance at a virtual event on Tuesday.
“It threatens fiat money, but it especially threatens the US dollar,” he told members of the Richard Nixon Foundation.
Thiel added: “[If] China’s long Bitcoin, perhaps from a geopolitical perspective, the US should be asking some tougher questions about exactly how that works.”
The Silicon Valley mogul, who is worth an estimated $4.8billion (£3.5billion), has made substantial investments in cryptocurrency startups.
He conceded that he remained “sort of” pro-crypto and a “pro-Bitcoin maximalist”.
Thiel was joined on the panel by Donald Trump’s former secretary of state Mike Pompeo and former National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien.
The conversation focussed heavily on US-China relations, aggressively criticising the big US tech companies who work there.
Thiel claimed that he had spoken to “insiders” at Google about the use of its artificial intelligence in China’s Xinjiang region.
The US has accused China of detaining ethnic Uyghurs in internment camps there. Some have said that this amounts to genocide.
After Thiel asked Google staff whether their technology was involved, the answer, he said, was: “Well, we don’t really know – and don’t ask any questions.”
What is Bitcoin?
BITCOIN got you baffled? Here’s what you need to know:
- Bitcoin is a virtual currency
- It’s traded between people without the help of a bank
- Every transaction is recorded in a public ledger, or “blockchain”
- Bitcoin is created by mining
- Mining involves solving difficult maths problems using computer processors
- Bitcoin can be traded anonymously, which can make it a popular way of funding illegal activities
- The value of Bitcoin fluctuates wildly
- Bitcoin is one of many different cryptocurrencies, but by far the most popular
Thiel continued: “You have this almost magical thinking that by pretending that everything is fine, that’s how you engage and have a conversation.”
The 53-year-old has been an outspoken critic against Silicon Valley since he left the tech industry in 2018.
He has repeatedly claimed that companies like Facebook and Goole pose threats to the US given their ties to China.
Bitcoin’s value has continued to soar to all-time highs in recent weeks, rising above $50,000 for the first time last month.
The virtual currency’s value has been buoyed by big investments from Tesla as well as economic uncertainty driven by the Covid-19 pandemic.
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In other news, bitcoin “whales” who hold staggering sums of the cryptocurrency could crash the market, experts have warned.
Russian cyber-experts have warned about “Bitcoin assassins” who accept the cryptocurrency in exchange for brutal killings.
And a hacker has reportedly demanded a ransom after trapping the penises of people using internet-controlled chastity cages and demanded a ransom.
What do you make of Thiel’s comments? Let us know in the comments!
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