Canadian businessman, author, politician, and television personality Kevin O’Leary has said that he wants to more than double his cryptocurrency holdings before the end of the year.
O’Leary, who has appeared on popular business entertainment show Shark Tank, told CNBC that he wanted to increase his exposure to cryptocurrency by 7 percent.
O’Leary believes that "trillions of dollars" could be further invested in cryptocurrencies if the segment gets classified as an asset class by the government. Though central banks have been expounding the volatility risks of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, notable exceptions like El Salvador and Ukraine exist where Bitcoin has been deemed legal.
The US government is working on draft legislation for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. O’Leary thinks that while cryptocurrencies won’t be recognised as legal tender in the US, they may be labelled as an institutional asset class.
The same view has been propounded by other experts like former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan who had recently said that properly regulated cryptocurrencies with real use cases “have a future”.
But with governments playing catch up and lacking the infrastructure to ensure compliance, O’Leary is not sure when such recognition may happen. In the meantime, O’Leary wishes for more clarity from regulators in the US about cryptocurrency since investors like him don’t wish to be non-compliant due to their excessive holdings.
"I don’t want to get involved in crypto if the regulator says it’s not okay,” he said. “I can’t afford to be offside, I cannot afford to be non-compliant."
O’Leary, who is the chairman at O’Shares ETFs, said that while he is bullish about cryptocurrencies, he has no faith in airlines and is betting against them. Highlighting that business travel will never recover to pre-pandemic levels, he said he has short positions against major airlines.
"I think the business travel side of the airline business is horrifically bad, and I’m making money shorting airlines," he said.
His views echo that of the ‘Oracle of Omaha’ Warren Buffett, who has historically advised against investing in airlines. Buffett had to sell his holdings in major US airlines at the start of the pandemic at a significant loss, though if he had managed to hold onto the same stocks then in some scenarios he wouldn’t have suffered unrealised losses of $5 billion.
"Not that I don’t like airlines, but I think they’re in a really bad business,” summed up O’Leary.