Bitcoin [BTC] has its fair share of proponents and opponents. The original ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Jordan Belfort believes Bitcoin [BTC] could lead to many people seeing their investments disappear, adding that it could go bust within the year.
The former penny-stock broker said that the reason why cryptocurrencies are still appealing is because young investors, who seem to be the most active players in the space, have been “brainwashed”.
“I was a scammer. I had it down to science, and it’s exactly what’s happening with Bitcoin,” he said in an interview included in CNBC’s cryptocurrency documentary “Bitcoin: Boom or Bust”.
“There’s a lot of really honest people who are going to get slaughtered,” he added.
Who is Jordan Belfort?
Belfort is a popular name in the stockbroking world. Back in 1999, he pleaded guilty to manipulating investors into buying stocks that were actually worthless and running a boiler room as part of the penny-stock scam.
His story was depicted in the 2013 film “Wolf of Wall Street”, directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort.
Back when he was running his penny-stock scam, his team would constantly persuade people to buy stocks that he would later “dump”, thus minting a profit.
Belfort on ICOs, regulatory response to cryptos
Now, manipulation is a lot easier, because of the internet. Many initial coin offerings (ICOs) have turned out to be frauds and are currently being investigated by regulatory authorities.
Moreover, internet giants Google, Facebook and Twitter have outlawed advertising of ICOs on their platforms.
“This thing is going to evaporate like a mirage,” Belfort said. “There’s a lot of really honest people who are going to get slaughtered.”
He had earlier called ICOs “a huge gigantic scam that’s going to blow up in so many people’s faces,” adding that it was far worse than anything he had ever done.
He also pointed out that central banks and governments were wary of cryptocurrencies, on account of concerns regarding money laundering.
“Central banks don’t want it, they’ve spent all this time trying to stop money laundering, why now allow something that’s anonymous, and lends itself to making money-laundering easy?” he said. “I don’t believe there’s any shot in the world they’ll let that happen.”
He also raised concerns about the decentralized, anonymous structure behind Bitcoin.
“It’s not that Bitcoin’s a scam but its nature allows scams to occur,” he said in a separate interview on CNBC’s Power Lunch Monday. “It’s a dark market, you can’t see what’s going on behind the scenes,” he opined.
Image via Shutterstock
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