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Oct. 23, 2017, 3:06 p.m. EDT

Bitcoin is ‘just going to implode one day’: Saudi Prince Alwaleed

Cryptocurrency is ‘Enron in the making,’ says Saudi royal and noted investor

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By William Watts, MarketWatch

AFP/Getty Images
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is no bitcoin fan.

Add Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal to the roster of high-profile investors and financiers who don’t believe bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are here to stay.

“I just don’t believe in this bitcoin thing. I think it’s just going to implode one day,” Alwaleed told CNBC in an interview Monday morning. “I think this is Enron in the making.”

Bitcoin /zigman2/quotes/31322028/realtime BTCUSD -0.05% is up around 500% in 2017 and last week topped $6,000 for the first time. Bitcoin was down 1.5% at $,5813.25 in recent trade, according to Coindesk.com .

Energy firm Enron collapsed in 2001 in one of the largest accounting scandals in U.S. corporate history.

From the archive: Enron workers lost everything

Alwaleed said bitcoin “doesn’t make sense. This thing is not regulated, it’s not under control, [and] it’s not under the supervision” of any central bank.

Of course, to bitcoin proponents, those same criticisms are features rather than bugs.

Read: What one strategist sees taking bitcoin ‘into the stratosphere’

Alwaleed has plenty of company among bitcoin doubters. Alwaleed said he agreed with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. /zigman2/quotes/205971034/composite JPM -0.07% Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, who last month likened bitcoin to the 17th century tulip mania, an early market bubble, and branded cryptocurrencies a “fraud” that would eventually implode.

And billionaire investor Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, last month said cryptocurrencies like bitcoin met his firm’s criteria for a market bubble.

Not all big-shot financiers are cryptocurrency skeptics, however. Morgan Stanley Chief Executive James Gorman last month said the phenomenon was “more than just a fad.”

Read: ‘Fraud.’ ‘More than a fad.’ The words Wall Street CEOs are using to describe bitcoin

In the wide-ranging interview, the prince also argued that shares of Citigroup Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207741460/composite C -0.69%  remain undervalued. “There’s still plenty of room for Citigroup to go above $100 right now,” he told the cable news channel . Citigroup shares are up 49% in the last 12 months and were trading at $73.73 on Monday, a rise of 0.3%. Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holdings is a major investor in Citigroup.

US : CoinDesk
-8.71 -0.05%
Volume: 0.00
Dec. 8, 2022 2:24a
$ 131.50
-0.09 -0.07%
Volume: 11.74M
Dec. 7, 2022 4:00p
P/E Ratio
Dividend Yield
Market Cap
$385.98 billion
Rev. per Employee
$ 44.67
-0.31 -0.69%
Volume: 20.23M
Dec. 7, 2022 4:03p
P/E Ratio
Dividend Yield
Market Cap
$87.12 billion
Rev. per Employee

William Watts is MarketWatch's deputy markets editor, based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @wlwatts.

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