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Investor Kevin O’Leary told CNBC’s Squawk Box that one-fifth of his investment holdings are in cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
“I have millions of dollars, 20% of my portfolio is now in cryptocurrencies and blockchain,” O’Leary said.
While cryptocurrencies are gaining mainstream attention, the asset continues to be volatile, and U.S. regulators including the Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler have cautioned about its “highly speculative” landscape and the need of investor protection. The outgoing chair of the U.K.’s financial regulator also has cautioned about pump-and-dump plots in some crypto projects.
CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin asked whether some cryptocurrencies will be around in a decade. O’Leary commented he’s taken that possibility into consideration.
“You have to be diversified. I own 32 different positions, including equity FTX itself,” O’Leary said while divulging he’s a paid spokesperson for the cryptocurrency exchange, founded by 30-year-old billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried.
“The whole point is, you don’t know who is going to win. Is Ethereum going to win? Is solana going to win? Is it Helium or is it Avalanche? I own them all.”
O’Leary’s comments Friday come two days after President Joe Biden signed an executive order that directs the U.S. government to analyze the cryptocurrency industry.
The administration says the order’s goal is to both address risks while “harnessing the potential benefits of digital assets and their underlying technology.”
“It wasn’t an all out ban, so that’s good news,” O’Leary said. However, he expressed concerns about the way Biden’s directive includes an emphasis on climate risks associated with cryptocurrency.
The act of mining bitcoin — which, in practice means running computers to verify transactions across the blockchain network — requires a lot of power. As a result, critics have lamented the carbon footprint of bitcoin mining.
O’Leary said he’s invested in at least one private bitcoin mining facility. However, he said he sold his positions in publicly traded bitcoin mining firms after Biden’s executive order.
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