Elizabeth Warren Praises Yellen’s Skepticism of Bitcoin: I Don’t Think Janet Left ‘Room for Ambiguity’ When She Said It’s ‘Going to End Badly’


Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) praised Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for warning investors against getting involved digital currencies, emphasizing that they were “speculative” and “going to end badly.”

“It will have an implication on your tax proposal … perhaps, given the volatility of it,” CNBC host Andrew Ross Sorkin said in an interview with the Massachusetts senator. “There are people like Janet Yellen who are warning this is both speculative in nature and potentially going to end badly. Do you have a view?”

“I think Janet is a very smart woman,” Warren replied, without answering the question.

“That’s all you’re going to say about Bitcoin?” Sorkin said.

“Well, speculative in nature and going to end badly,” Warren reiterated. “I don’t think Janet left a lot of room for ambiguity there.”

“I should say, I’m not sure she said necessarily it could end badly, but that it could end badly for some,” Ross clarified, before moving on.

Democrats including Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) co-sponsored the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Act on Monday. The proposal would impose an annual two percent “wealth tax” on those with a net worth of more than $50 million, and three percent on those with a worth of more than $1 billion. The legislation faces dim odds in the Senate, where Democrats control just 50 seats.

In an interview with Sorkin last month, Yellen said bitcoin was an “inefficient way of conducting transactions.” She added, “It is a highly speculative asset, and I think people should beware. It can be extremely volatile, and I do worry about potential losses that investors in it could suffer.”

The remarks from Yellen and Warren were more critical than testimony delivered on Tuesday by Gary Gensler, President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have brought new thinking to payments and financial inclusion, but they’ve also raised new issues of investor protection that we still need to attend to,” Gensler told a Senate panel.

Gensler led the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the Obama administration before teaching courses about cryptocurrency at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he taught alongside Silvio Micali, a computer scientist who developed Algorand, a digital currency that more than quadrupled in value over the last several months, from about $1 billion in December to more than $5 billion as of Wednesday.

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