Jeffrey Epstein is seen as royalty when it comes to the elite of finance, having been a billionaire for over 20 years. He is also a known sex offender. In 2008, Epstein was convicted of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution, for which he served 13 months in prison.
Epstein excelled at finding hidden value for his clients and himself, identifying anomalies in the market, and using arbitrage to profit from them. He has now identified Bitcoin as another potential opportunity.
There are a lot of Wall Street banks, bankers and investors who are sharing their opinion on the digital currency, some more politely than others. Jamie Dimon has called it a fraud, and on the other side, there are rumours that Goldman Sachs will begin direct Bitcoin trading.
However, these opinions are so polarised that they are either so deep in one camp or another that they seem to have hidden agendas.
"Epstein is the Brooklyn-born financier who in 1982 formed J. Epstein & Co., the money management firm that famously held a secret client list containing only the names of people worth $1 bln or more."
In 1976, Epstein started work as an options trader at Bear Stearns, where he advised high-net-worth clients on tax strategies.In 1980 Epstein became a partner at Bear Stearns. The International Business Times reported that papers filed in a 2006 lawsuit alleged that Epstein installed concealed cameras in numerous places on his property to record sexual activity with underage girls by prominent people for criminal purposes such as blackmail. Epstein allegedly "loaned" girls to powerful people to ingratiate himself with them and also to gain possible blackmail information. In 2015, evidence came to light that one of the powerful men at Epstein's mansion may have been Prince Andrew of the UK.In 2008, after Epstein pleaded guilty to a single state charge of soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison. At release, he was registered in New York State as a level three (high risk of re-offense) sex offender, a lifelong designation.
As not only a sex offender but also a former math teacher, Epstein appreciates the security that comes from the mathematical work that goes into Bitcoin’s Blockchain.
As a former math teacher, Epstein appreciates the security that comes from the mathematical work that goes into Bitcoin’s Blockchain.
Counterfeiting is a major problem with conventional money but because each Bitcoin has a unique identifier, and any coins numbered outside a certain range are fake — the whole system is mathematically controlled.
Still not a currency
While there is no formal or legal definition of what a currency actually is, Epstein does not think Bitcoin can be classified as one anyway.
Traditional currency is money that has a sovereign guarantee behind it, a governmental promise that the value is secure. But because Bitcoin is backed by technology, it misses that mark.
However, he adds that it works as a store of value:
“When we talk about gold as a store of value that just means a lot of people agree to pay the same price for one ounce of gold. In 2017, enough people agree on the value of bitcoin that it can serve the same purpose. There will only ever be 21 million bitcoins, but this limit comes from computer code, not by how many bitcoins are left to remove from the earth. If we learn tomorrow that half of Montana contained a secret cache of gold, the value of gold would decrease instantly. Bitcoin doesn’t have this problem.”
Call for an update
Finally, the billionaire sees Bitcoin as a powerful catalyst that can start to change the landscape of business and finance.
Terms such as currency, money, wealth, value and even cost need to be updated and revisited. He believes it is Bitcoin that can make people rethink these ideas.