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Billionaire Investor Jim Breyer Warns of ‘Nuclear Winter’ for Cryptocurrency. Here’s Why He Remains Unfazed.

December 06
10:44 2018

Greetings from China, where Fortune just concluded its 2018 Global Tech Forum in Guangzhou, a city whose industrial potency permeates the air, literally, in the form of a throat-tickling miasma. I am spending the week unwinding in the revivifying climes of Hong Kong, puffing my lungs on hopeful gusts off the Pearl River Delta while the cryptocurrency markets suffocate.

For devotees of The Ledger, the highlight of Fortune’s conference was remarks made by Jim Breyer, a billionaire investor who remains amply bullish on blockchain-based businesses, despite the unrelenting Bitcoin bloodbath. The present Blackstone- and erstwhile Walmart– and Dell-board director said during the event’s final keynote session on Friday that he continues to be “very interested” in the technology, while cautioning that the near future will be a slog for investors. These are the times that try investors’ souls; “we are close to a nuclear winter right now with cryptocurrency,” Breyer warned. (You can view his portfolio investments, which include Circle and Ethereumhere.)

This is not the first time investors have sought fallout shelter. Cryptocurrency bubbles have popped before. “AI winters,” periodic slumps in artificial intelligence excitement, are well-documented phenomena. In the early 2000s, in the aftermath of the dot-com denouement, venture capitalists—the survivors, anyway—shuddered at the thought of backing Internet companies. But that didn’t stop Breyer from placing a prescient bet on Facebook in 2005, when shares in the then-upstart were dirt cheap. The deal would prove to be one of the venture industry’s biggest bonanzas, reaping billions of dollars for Accel Partners, where Breyer worked before setting out on his own with the self-named firm Breyer Capital in 2013.

“These cycles keep happening every decade or so,” Breyer said, referring to the repetition of technologic booms-and-busts. This seasonality is, he said, “inevitable.”

Continue Reading at Fortune

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