Bitcoin a Market for Miscreants & Millennials: ‘Commodities King’ Gartman

Hedge fund legend and billionaire investor Mike Novogratz may have viewed last week’s bitcoin price decline as an opportunity to purchase $15 million to $20 million worth of BTC at a discount, but market forecaster Dennis Gartman maintains that there “is no value” in the nascent cryptocurrency.

Gartman, who has been nicknamed the “commodities king”, told CNBC’s “Fast Money” that while he believes blockchain technology “has merit” and is “going to change the manner in which we trade…and invest,” he does have any desire to enter the cryptocurrency ecosystem as an investor or trader.

“This is a market … for criminals, this is a market for millennials,” Gartman said on Monday. “This is a market for pure punters, but there is no value here whatsoever.”

Parroting an oft-lobbed insult, Gartman argued that bitcoin’s rapid year-to-date price climb reminds him of Tulipmania in 17th-century Holland.

“This reminds me so much of the tulip bulb mania in Holland, of other bubbles that we have seen and they always end badly,” he said.

When pressed to explain his bearish stance, he argued that bitcoin’s price volatility inhibits its use as a currency. “How can you buy or sell a painting using bitcoin, when the change in volatility is 20-30-40 percent in the course of a week? It’s nonsense,” he said.

It’s true that the bitcoin price remains highly volatile, but this line of argument does not consider that the bitcoin price will necessarily exhibit volatility as the global market determines its fair value. It also ignores the prevalence of payment processing services such as BitPay, which automatically convert cryptocurrency payments to local fiat currency at the point of sale to shield businesses from price volatility. These services also help companies use cryptocurrency to streamline supply chain payments across borders.

Gartman’s skeptical stance on bitcoin is shared by many mainstream financiers, most notably the bombastic Jamie Dimon. However, this legion of critics is beginning to thin, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to claim that cryptocurrency only attracts criminals and young, presumably-inexperienced investors.

Just this week, one of the world’s largest hedge funds — the U.K.-based Man Group — revealed that it is prepared to add bitcoin to its “investment universe” once bitcoin futures contracts launch on U.S. exchange CME in approximately one month.