Billionaire investor Howard Marks has said that his son Andrew recently purchased "a meaningful amount of bitcoin" for the family and admits he might have been wrong about cryptocurrencies.
In a 2017 client memo, Marks slammed bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, "In my view, digital currencies are nothing but an unfounded fad, or perhaps even a pyramid scheme, based on a willingness to ascribe value to something that has little or non beyond wha people will pay for it," he said, "But this isn't the first time. The same description can be applied to the Tulip mania that peaked in 1637, and the internet bubble in 1999-2000."
But with younger generations embracing Bitcoin over gold and precious metals with increasing momentum, Mark’s skepticism is fading. “I probably allowed my pattern recognition around financial innovation and speculative market behavior, along with my natural conservatism, to produce my skeptical position,” he said in a letter, "With so much innovation happening at such a rapid pace, Marks says this skeptic mindset should be paired with “openness to new ideas and a willingness to learn before forming a view.”
Marks is co-founder of Oaktree Capital Management, the largest distressed assets investor worldwide. He is ranked in the top 400 on Forbes list of the wealthiest Americans with a net worth of at least $2.1 billion. His letter concluded that in the new digital-pandemic world, profitable businesses will become more successful in the pandemic, and financially distressed businesses will be more vulnerable, which creates opportunities for Oaktree on either spectrum.
"If asked about possible silver linings to this pandemic, I would list first the chance to spend more time with family," said Marks, "Our son Andrew and his wife and son moved in with Nancy and me in Los Angeles at the beginning of the pandemic, as they were renovating their house when Covid-19 hit, and we lived together for the next ten weeks. There’s nothing like getting to spend months at a time building relationships with grandchildren, something we were privileged to do in 2020. I’m sure the impact will literally last lifetimes."