Shark Tank investor and billionaire Mark Cuban has used a spot in a recent media round to throw cold water over Bitcoin, comparing the world’s most prominent cryptocurrency to baseball cards and bananas.
“Bitcoin is worth what somebody will pay for it,” Cuban said.
“I’d rather have bannanas, I can eat bananas.”
Bitcoin has been a rollercoaster ride for cryptocurrency speculators since its inception a decade ago, reaching a peak value of just over $24,000 in December last year before plummeting to its current valuation of around $11,800.
While, as Cuban noted, a good deal of Bitcoin trading activity is tied to speculation about its future value, there’s also a sizable amount of cryptocurrency activity tied to the black market, according to 2018 research compiled by Oxford University academics.
The Oxford research estimated about 46% of Bitcoin transactions are related to illegal activity. It also noted that that number has decreased as black market transactions have moved to lesser-known cryptocurrencies in recent years, following growing attention from authorities globally.
Bitcoin is perhaps the most well-known currency application of blockchain technology. But Cuban, himself an investor in several blockchain-based businesses, noted it is not necessarily synonymous with blockchain technology more broadly.
“I can make a great argument for blockchain, there’s a lot of applications and they’ll be used, but you don’t need public Bitcoin,” he said.
Interestingly, bananas have historically been an incredibly lucrative investment for American entrepreneurs.
This was particularly the case around the turn of the 20th century when, supported by decades of American military intervention in central America, companies like United Fruit Co. booked large profits farming and exporting bananas into the US from countries like Guatemala.