One of Wall Street’s most infamous scam artists continues to pound the table on bitcoin, predicting that the flagship cryptocurrency is primed for a crash that he has dubbed the “bust ‘heard round the world.”
Jordan Belfort, who spent 22 months in prison and was ordered to pay back more than $110 million in restitution to victims of his pump-and-dump penny stock scam, told CNBC that the only reason bitcoin has yet succumbed to its inevitable doom is that the younger investors who find the nascent asset class most appealing have been “brainwashed” into purchasing it.
“I was a scammer. I had it down to science, and it’s exactly what’s happening with bitcoin,” he said during an interview included in the network’s cryptocurrency documentary, “Bitcoin: Boom or Bust,” which premieres on Monday. “The whole thing is so stupid, these kids have gotten themselves so brainwashed,” he said. “We don’t even know how bad it really is.”
Belfort, whose criminal activities were dramatized in the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, alleged that scammers have accumulated large pots of BTC that they are now trying to offload on average retail investors, who are prone to finding themselves swept up in hype-driven asset bubbles.
For that type of buyer, the one, he said, who has a “good heart,” Belfort has a stark warning:
“For the average person who’s really — you know, with a good heart, who walks in saying, ‘I just — I want — I do because I believe in it, in the long term thing,’ just f—— run.”
“This thing is going to evaporate like a mirage,” he added. “There’s a lot of really honest people who are going to get slaughtered.”
It’s not the first time that Belfort has sounded the alarm on bitcoin. Last September, he said that cryptocurrency is a “fraud,” adding soon after that he thought initial coin offerings (ICOs) may be the “biggest scam ever.” In June, after the cryptocurrency market had endured a six-month decline, he argued that the market had “run out of fools,” warning of an imminent meltdown that, despite his warnings, has not yet materialized.