Prominent investor Kevin O’Leary says he wants to at least double his holdings of cryptocurrencies by the end of 2021 and predicts that “trillions of dollars” could pour into the market as crypto becomes a new asset class.
The “Shark Tank” investor previously called Bitcoin “junk” but later changed its mind.
O’Leary, chairman of O’Shares ETFs, said he was optimistic about crypto and wanted to invest more in his personal portfolio.
“I want to increase my exposure to crypto – currently at 3% – to 7% by the end of the year,” he told Capital Connection on Monday.
However, he said investors want US authorities to make decisions about regulating cryptocurrencies.
“I don’t want to get involved in crypto if the regulator says it’s wrong,” he said. “I can’t afford to be sidelined, I can’t afford not to be compliant.”
That won’t go away, this is the new asset class.
Chairman of O’Shares ETFs
The US government is in the process of developing regulations for cryptocurrencies, even as more and more countries legalize Bitcoin. Just last week, El Salvador became the first country in the world to introduce Bitcoin as legal tender.
O’Leary said he expected regulators to recognize cryptocurrencies as an institutional asset class, but it is unclear when that will be the case. He added that compared to the systems for traditional assets, there is also a lack of infrastructure for compliance.
However, he predicts that “trillions of dollars in interest will be waiting to come on board” when regulators finally approve cryptocurrencies as an institutional asset class.
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If regulators allow financial services companies to specifically treat bitcoin as an asset and approve bitcoin-based exchange-traded funds in the US, he’ll see “another trillion dollars to buy” in cryptocurrency.
“This is not going to go away, this is the new asset class,” he said.
Betting against airlines
O’Leary also said he was betting against airlines because “business travel will never go back to what it was” before the pandemic broke out.
“I think the business travel side of the aviation business is terribly bad and I make money short selling airlines,” he said, referring to a trading technique where investors borrow stocks from a broker and sell them hoping to be can buy them back at a lower price.
“Not that I don’t like airlines, but I think they have really bad business.”
Airlines have been plagued by border closings and travel restrictions since last year when Covid first appeared. They endured uncertainty as the virus increased and decreased in different parts of the world.
“It’s bad, bad, bad business. Not just because of pandemics – because people don’t have to fly.“ he said.
– MacKenzie Sigalos and Arjun Kharpal from CNBC contributed to this report.