Don’t pin your hopes on the Bitcoin boom holding up, according to Gary Cohn, a former economic chief to Donald Trump.
“For all the reasons it’s a strong developing asset class, it may fail,” Cohn, the ex-Goldman Sachs Group Inc. honcho, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
“Part of the integrity of a system is knowing who owns it and knowing who has it and knowing why it’s being transferred,” Cohn said. “The Bitcoin system today has no transparency to it. So there are a lot of people that question, why would you need a system that does not have an audit trail.”
Cohn’s skepticism comes at a time the vaunted coin of the crypto community torched its previous record as the price shot up to $20,000. That’s reminiscent of the rapid ascent three years ago, when Bitcoin emerged as the breakthrough cryptocurrency promising to upend the way money changes hands forever.
It “lacks some of the basic integrity of a real market,” Cohn said. The former president of Goldman Sachs has been slowly rebuilding his presence in the business world as he looks for new ways to replicate his success on Wall Street. He was a contender for the top job at Goldman before he took a role with the Trump administration. He has been investing in cyber and blockchain.
Cohn was Trump’s first National Economic Council chief, holding the post until April 2018. He spearheaded the effort to roll back taxes, and stuck with the president before ultimately resigning after losing a battle over tariffs with other factions of Trump’s team.
He joined activist investor Cliff Robbins in leading a blank-check company, or special purpose acquisition vehicle, that went on to raise $720 million in September.
“We’re looking for good sound companies that are going to be around for the next hundred years,” he said. “You know, I want to buy a company that I’m happy to own for the next 20 or 30 years.”
Cohn also had a word of advice for bank executives heading into year-end wrestling with how much to pay top staffers after a breakout year for many investment banks.
“I would make sure I’m competitive,” Cohn said. “The cost of losing great people is really high. Not only do you lose great people in their production, but then you lose the momentum of the organization. You have to spend money to go out and hire a new person.”