Here’s Why Peter Thiel Called Warren Buffett a “Sociopathic Grandpa”


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Peter Thiel launched an unexpected tirade at this year’s Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami. The billionaire investor and entrepreneur is no stranger to controversy, not least because he “straddles the worlds of Silicon Valley and conservative politics,” as the Washington Post puts it.

Thiel, one of Paypal’s co-founders, left the Meta (formerly Facebook) board of directors earlier this year. His venture capital firm Founders Fund reportedly started buying Bitcoin in 2017, although the crypto enthusiast said again last year that he felt underinvested.

Peter Thiel castigates “financial gerontocracy”

Thiel’s wide-ranging speech lasted about 20 minutes and touched on a variety of issues. These included the potential of Bitcoin (BTC), why it is not reaching that potential, and how we value money – which he illustrated by throwing $100 bills into the crowd.

Thiel argued that Bitcoin is like a canary in a mine, warning us of what is to come. “It tells us that the central banks are bankrupt,” he said. “We are at the end of the fiat currency regime.” Thiel then looked at the question of why Bitcoin hasn’t risen faster, specifically what’s holding it back. At this point, he made a list of Bitcoin enemies, naming Warren Buffett as enemy #1.

Buffett is an old-school investor who compared Bitcoin to rat poison. He prefers productive assets, such as stocks or real estate, and says he sticks to what he understands. Calling Buffett “the sociopathic grandfather of Omaha,” Thiel accused him of institutional bias and said Bitcoin could undermine traditional investment firms.

“There’s always a feeling that if you’re a fund manager you want to pretend it’s complicated to invest,” he said. Thiel argued that if all you had to do was buy Bitcoin, fund managers would go bankrupt. He suggested that people should see it as a political issue, rather than one of Bitcoin’s technical or innovative benchmarks.

Buffett wasn’t the only old-school investor to draw Thiel’s ire. JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink have also come under fire. He criticized Dimon for his “New York banker bias” and Fink for seeing the benefits of blockchain in general rather than Bitcoin in particular. “Pro-blockchain is an anti-Bitcoin term,” Thiel said.

Thiel sees these three as emblematic of a “financial gerontocracy” which he contrasts with a “revolutionary youth movement”. He ended his rather incendiary speech by urging the audience to get out there and take on the world.

Bitcoin has long inspired extreme opinions and controversy. Some successful investors like Mark Cuban have become dedicated crypto evangelists while others, like Buffett, have avoided investing in crypto altogether. One side thinks the value of Bitcoin could exceed $1 million and the other side thinks the market could crash completely.

If you are considering buying Bitcoin, it is wise to understand both points of view so that you can make an informed decision. Take your time to research what Bitcoin is doing and what might affect its price in the future. There is a lot we don’t know about the evolution of the industry, especially the impact of regulation on it.

READ MORE: Best Crypto Apps and Exchanges

Ultimately, everyone’s financial situation is different and very few of us are billionaire investors like Thiel and Buffett. No two people will have the same tolerance for risk, disposable income or investment priorities. All of these factors are important when deciding whether – or how much – to invest.

Of course, Thiel has made various successful technology investments. But Buffett’s track record of picking stocks that have performed well over the long term is also not to be sniffed at. Both simply follow different investment strategies. The trick is to find the wisdom in each approach and apply it to your own situation.

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Emma Newbery owns bitcoin.

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