Mike Novogratz says a CNBC segment on buying a bitcoin rival shows why regulators are clamping down on crypto


Novogratz, Mike Novogratz, Fortress CEO, SALT
Mike
Novogratz speaks at the SALT conference in
2015

Reuters/Rick
Wilking


  • Mike Novogratz poked a little fun at CNBC while
    speaking to rival Bloomberg about the crypto hype that marked
    the very beginning of 2018.
  • “CNBC, not to pick on CNBC, but I think I can since I
    am here,” Novogratz said. 
  • He said a segment about buying Ripple’s XRP epitomized
    the “peak nonsense” of the bitcoin mania that swept financial
    media and markets. 

Mike Novogratz, the famed hedge funder turned crypto-enthusiast,
poked a little fun at a segment on financial news network CNBC
when describing to rival Bloomberg News the crypto hype that
marked the very start of 2018. 

CNBC, not to pick on CNBC, but I think I can since I am
here, they literally had a show where they were one by one
walking people through how to buy the Ripple, the XRP coin,
literally when it was trading at $3.20 having moved from $0.20 8
weeks earlier,” Novogratz said speaking to
Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker
. “That was peak nonsense.”

Ripple’s XRP, a bitcoin rival, was technically trading above
$2.57 when CNBC broke
down how to buy it on exchange operator Poloniex on January
5
. Still, the crypto market was red-hot then, with the entire
market racing towards an all-time high market capitalization
above $830 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. XRP ultimately
fell to $0.49 on April 5. 

To be sure, many publications created walk-throughs for readers
and viewers on how to purchase crypto-assets during the run-up.
Business Insider published
“Ripple’s XRP is the hot new cryptocurrency – here’s how you buy
it”
in January when Ripple was trading at approximately $2 a
token.

The second-half of 2017 also saw the rise of initial coin
offerings, a quick way to raise funds using cryptocurrency. Many
of these fundraisers were promoted by celebrities such as Paris
Hilton and Floyd Mayweather. 

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Novogratz said this phenomenon might be the reason
regulators started to clamp down in 2018. But it is something
Novogratz, who is building out a crypto merchant bank, thinks is
a positive sign for the market. 

“So we are going to knock out some of the crap from the system,”
he said. “It is healthy.”

Notably, the Securities and Exchange Commission
hit a number of cryptocurrency company with subpoenas
. It
also recently promoted Valerie
Szczepanik to lead its new
 cryptocurrency enforcement
unit. 
The New York Attorney General’s office earlier
this year launched an inquiry into cryptocurrency
exchanges.   

The question now hanging over the space is whether regulators
will deem crypto assets as securities, which would require
entities that facilitate crypto trading to subscribe to a whole
range of regulations. 

“I bet dimes to donuts [regulators] are going to say ethereum was
a security but it is not anymore,” Novogratz said.

Novogratz said there are about 200 tokens in regulatory “no-mands
land.”

Jay Clayton, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission,
didn’t provide additional clarity during an interview Wednesday
with CNBC. 

I’m not going to comment on specific crypto assets and
whether they are a security or are not a security,” Clayton told
CNBC’s Bob Pisani.

CNBC declined to comment. 

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