Saudi Billionaire Prince Alwaleed Predicts Bitcoin Will ‘Implode’ Like Enron

October 23, 2017, 4:29 PM UTC

As the price of bitcoin falls from its record high above $6,000, Saudi Prince and businessman Alwaleed bin Talal is making it clear: He’s in J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s camp when it comes to the cryptocurrency.

On Monday, the billionaire predicted that bitcoin will eventually “implode” as an “Enron in the making.” The price of bitcoin dipped 4% on Monday, to about $5,800.

“I just don’t believe in this bitcoin thing. I think it’s just going to implode one day. I think this is Enron in the making,” Alwaleed said on CNBC. He was referring to the Enron scandal of the 2000s, in which the one-time Wall Street darling hit rock bottom after revealing that its meteoric rise had been built on a house of cards: Its growth had been achieved via accounting loopholes and offshore entities used to hide billions in debt. In December 2001, Enron filed for bankruptcy, with many executives eventually destined for prison sentences.

“This thing is not regulated, it’s not under control, it’s not under supervision,” Alwaleed said.

His remarks came after Saudi Arabia’s financial regulator, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, said its still too early to judge, and therefore too early to regulate, bitcoin’s impact.

“I think it’s about another five years before we can really see whether there is a real impact on the currencies in general,” Abdulmalik Al-Sheikh, a senior advisor at SAMA, told CNBC on Sunday.

Alwaleed’s comments also fall in line with those previously made by J.P. Morgan’s CEO. The banking executive slammed bitcoin as a “fraud” in early September, when the price of the cryptocurrency was about $3,800. Dimon argued that bitcoin would eventually be subject to a crackdown by world governments.

“It will blow up,” he said at the time.

Still, the price of bitcoin has defied that prediction so far this year, rising 771% over the past 12 months.

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