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商业 - 科技

比特币引发巴菲特与安德森的口水大战

Christopher Matthews 2014年04月02日

一位是德高望重的传奇投资人,一位是风头正劲的新锐大佬,但巴菲特和安德森这两位举足轻重的投资家对虚拟货币比特币的态度却大相径庭。巴菲特警告称,离比特币远点;而安德森却说,巴菲特不懂技术,纯粹是瞎扯。不过,或许两人的观点都没错。

    身价亿万的投资家沃伦•巴菲特被人称作无知,这种情况可不常见。

    不过这确实是风险投资家马克•安德森上周在虚拟货币会议上所说的话。针对沃伦•巴菲特让投资者远离比特币的建议,他说:“一直以来,这些白人老头对自己不了解的新技术发表的言论全部都是瞎说。”安德森对巴菲特在美国全国广播公司(CNBC)上提出的观点做出了回应。当时,巴菲特说:

    “离远点。比特币是海市蜃楼。这是一种转移资金的手段。它是一种有效的转移途径,而且可以通过匿名实现这个过程,还有诸如此类的一些特色。不过支票也是一种转移金钱的手段。就因为支票可以转移金钱,所以它就价值连城吗?邮政汇票呢?大家也可以通过邮政汇款转移钱。人们也是这么做的。我希望比特币能成为更好的转移金钱的手段,但你可以用许多方法创造出类似的货币,将来也的确会出现这种情况。在我看来,认为比特币拥有某种巨大内在价值的想法非常可笑。”

    昨天,商业新闻网战Business Insider的亨利•布拉吉也加入了论战,他为巴菲特对比特币的怀疑态度进行了辩护,表示巴菲特并不是像安德森所说,是由于对技术的无知,而是一种对所有新技术的合理的质疑。为了支撑自己的观点,布拉吉详尽地引用了由巴菲特执笔,登载于1999年《财富》杂志上的一篇文章。文章撰写于网络狂热的高峰期,巴菲特在文中解释了自己为什么不在当时冲击市场的新技术的骚动中跟风投资。巴菲特当时写道:

    “投资的关键不在于评估这个产业将对社会产生多大影响,或是它将发展到多大规模,而在于判定目标公司有多少竞争优势。最重要的是,那种优势能维持多久。”

    换句话说,并不是巴菲特不了解技术。只是他明白,要确切知道哪种投资能够从技术的广泛普及中受益不太可能,哪怕你足够有先见之明,预见到哪种技术将彻底改变世界,以及通过何种方式改变。巴菲特举了汽车和航空业的例子。许多人看出了这些发明具有革命性的潜力,但如果投资者没有选对汽车公司,那这种先见之明就毫无价值。航空业也是一样——尽管它对社会起到了革命性的作用,但从这个行业获利的难度也是众所周知。

    

    It's not often that billionaire investor Warren Buffett gets called out for being clueless.

    But that's essentially what venture capitalist Marc Andreessen did this week at a virtual currency conference when he said, in reference to Warren Buffet's advice that investors stay away from Bitcoin, that "The historical track record of old white men crapping on new technology they don't understand is at, I think, 100%." Andreessen was responding to an appearance on CNBC where Buffett opined:

    "Stay away. Bitcoin is a mirage. It's a method of transmitting money. It's a very effective way of transmitting money, and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transmitting money, too. Are checks worth a whole lot of money just because they can transmit money? Are money orders? You can transmit money by money orders. People do it. I hope bitcoin becomes a better way of doing it, but you can replicate it a bunch of different ways and it will be. The idea that it has some huge intrinsic value is just a joke in my view."

    And yesterday Business Insider's Henry Blodget entered the fray, defending Buffett's skepticism of Bitcoin, saying it wasn't based on ignorance of the technology as Andreessen asserts, but a healthy skepticism of all new technologies. To back up his argument, Blodget quoted at length from a Buffett-penned article, which appeared in Fortune in 1999. The article was written during the height of dotcom mania, as Buffett explained why he avoided investing in the flurry of new technologies that were then hitting the market. Wrote Buffett:

    "The key to investing is not assessing how much an industry is going to affect society, or how much it will grow, but rather determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage."

    In other words, it's not that Buffett is ignorant about technology. It's just that he understands that it's impossible to know which specific investments will benefit from a technology's widespread adoption, even if you are prescient enough to know what technologies will revolutionize the world and how they will do so. Buffett chooses the examples of the car and aviation industries. Many people saw the revolutionary potential of these inventions, but such clairvoyance would be worthless to an investor if he chose the wrong car company. The same goes for aviation -- which has notoriously been a difficult industry to profit from, despite its revolutionary effect on society.

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