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In this episode of Intelligent Money Minute, I had the pleasure of interviewing Larry Swedroe, head of Financial and Economic Research at Buckingham Strategic Wealth, on the topic of whether Bitcoin is truly a good inflation hedge.
Blockchain Technology’s Potential
Larry Swedroe commenced the discussion by emphasizing the potential of blockchain technology, the foundation on which cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are built. The blockchain is already revolutionizing the financial sector by facilitating faster and more efficient payment transfers and record-keeping.
While the blockchain shows promise, Swedroe took a more skeptical view of Bitcoin. He pointed out that Bitcoin’s value proposition is questionable. Bitcoin has a theoretical limited supply, capped at 21 million coins. However, the existence of an unlimited number of substitute cryptocurrencies means Bitcoin faces a daunting challenge. An asset with an unlimited supply typically sees its value approach zero. Swedroe categorized Bitcoin as a Ponzi scheme, though he acknowledged that it could achieve high trading values based on what people are willing to pay.
Bitcoin: A Poor Inflation Hedge
Swedroe was humble in his skepticism, admitting he might be wrong. He would never recommend shorting Bitcoin. Nevertheless, he found comfort in the agreement of financial economists like John Cochran and Nobel laureate Gene Fama, who shared his view on Bitcoin’s intrinsic value.
Addressing a common belief that Bitcoin is an inflation hedge, Swedroe made it clear that Bitcoin’s performance does not support this notion. Its value is highly volatile and can plummet significantly during times of rising inflation.
Speculation ≠ Intelligent Investing
Swedroe’s insight serves as a reminder that speculation does not equate to intelligent investing. While some may choose to speculate on Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, such endeavors come with substantial risks and should be approached with caution.
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We’ll be interviewing Larry on several podcasts regarding markets, passive investing, and diversification, so be sure to subscribe to our Intelligent Money Minute podcasts.
Larry was among the first authors to publish a book that explained the science of investing in layman’s terms, “The Only Guide to a Winning Investment Strategy You’ll Ever Need.” He has since authored seven more books.
Larry Swedroe Bio
Since joining Buckingham Strategic Wealth in 1996, Chief Research Officer Larry Swedroe has spent his time and energy educating investors on the benefits of evidence-based investing.
In his role as chief research officer and as a member of the firm’s Investment Policy Committee and Board of Directors, Larry regularly reviews the findings published in dozens of peer-reviewed financial journals, evaluates the outcomes and uses the result to inform the firm’s formal investment strategy recommendations.
Larry’s dedication to helping others has made him a sought-after national speaker. He has made appearances on national television shows airing on NBC, CNBC, CNN and Bloomberg Personal Finance. Larry is a prolific writer, contributing regularly to multiple outlets, including Advisor Perspectives and ETF.com.
Before joining Buckingham, Larry was vice chairman of Prudential Home Mortgage and senior vice president at Citicorp.
Larry holds an MBA in finance and investment from NYU and a bachelor’s degree in finance from Baruch College.
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