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The list of Bitcoin sceptics keeps getting longer, even as the price scales new peaks. The latest to join the anti-Bitcoin chorus is Saudi prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.
In the land of countless princes and billionaires, prince Alwaleed bin Talal is the richest of them all. He is the grandson of the founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz Alsaud. According to Forbes, he is the 45th richest man in the world. Through his venture Kingdom Holding Co, he holds stakes in a variety of companies including Lyft, Twitter, Citigroup and even the Savoy Hotel in London.
He had built a reputation for himself as an early-stage investor in technology companies like Twitter and AOL, but seems to have missed the Bitcoin bus. He was previously involved in controversy after being accused of exaggerating his wealth to make it to the list of Forbes top 10 billionaires.
Speaking on CNBC's Squawk Box, the prince said:
“I don't believe in this Bitcoin thing. I believe it is going to implode one day. I think it is Enron in the making.”
In spite of his reputation as an early-spotter of new and successful technology trends, the prince said that the lack of a centralized governing authority was the reason why Bitcoin's failure is certain. He has much in common with Chase CEO Jamie Dimon in that regard.
“It just does not make any sense. It is not under the supervision of the United States Federal Reserve or any other central bank. I don't believe in it at all. I am in agreement with Jamie Dimon.”
Enron was a textbook case of fraud - a company using accounting loopholes to present a misleading picture, auditors conniving with management and a Board blind to the faults of the managers and executives. The result of this systemic fraud was the bankruptcy of Enron and the dissolution of Arthur Andersen, which was one of the five largest audit firms in the world at that time.
There are simply no similarities between a fraudulent company and a decentralized currency. The prince apparently believes that Bitcoin's price will collapse, as Enron's share price collapsed from $90 to under $1.
What Jamie Dimon and Prince Alwaleed don't realize (or don't want to realize) is that being outside the control of a central governing authority is not Bitcoin's weakness, but its strength. We have seen authoritarian governments, including China and Russia, try to muzzle Bitcoin by shutting down exchanges and proposing stringent regulation. Bitcoin threatens the establishment by letting people be in control of their own money. It is no wonder that Wall Street royalty and Middle Eastern Princes feel threatened enough to run it down.
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