Currencies

The Future of Digital Currencies. Letters to the Editor of Barron’s.

To the Editor:
Your cover story (“Beyond the Crypto Freeze,” May 27) should be enlightening to anyone who reads it. The roundtable panelists offered a great beginning for an ongoing discussion of cryptocurrencies. While Eswar Presad stated that Bitcoin has “no intrinsic value,” Dan Morehead referred a number of times to Bitcoin as “digital gold.” Insofar as the entire panel apparently agreed that Bitcoin had moved along with the market, the case might therefore be made that Bitcoin is not necessarily a “store of value.” Lisa Shalett brought up perhaps the best argument with reference to the folly of Fidelity attempting to push an agenda of using Bitcoin as a viable asset class for 401(k) accounts. If it has no intrinsic value and is not necessarily a store of value, allowing such a thing would seem to go against any kind of Street fiduciary responsibility.

Philip Becker, Glendale, Calif.

To the Editor:
For me, and for many other investors who are reluctant to invest in crypto, one fundamental question still remains unanswered: Will cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology become a utility and make transactions more secure, efficient, transparent, and cost-effective, with the final value of all these transactions ultimately realized in fiat currencies, or will cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology supplant fiat currencies and/or create a decentralized and open-source alternative to an exchange of value?

If the former, then blockchain infrastructure companies are where I would consider investing, and cryptocurrencies per se have little to no value to me. If the latter, then cryptocurrencies do have an intrinsic value, much like the fiat currencies that are backed by the issuing governments.

I. Al Djindil, Naples, Fla.

Strategies and Risks

To the Editor:
I appreciated all of the insightful strategies on planning for retirement in this turbulent market (“How Retirees and Retirement Savers Can Navigate the Market Tumult,” May 27). However, in my opinion, the danger of “sequence of returns risk” and how to prepare for it, was not emphasized enough. This is the risk that investors might experience negative portfolio returns very late in their working lives or early in retirement. The timing of bad returns, while starting to withdraw [money] from their portfolio can have a devastating financial impact, increasing the likelihood of outliving their nest egg and being unable to fund their retirement.

A good strategy to effectively mitigate this risk is to have several years’ worth of cash available, so the retiree does not need to withdraw funds while the market is dropping. Another option is to work part-time in the early stages of retirement. This additional income can mitigate the impact of a bad market and high inflation. It’s the closest strategy to a silver bullet for most retirees and should be seriously considered.

Jonathan I. Shenkman, West Hempstead, N.Y.

To the Editor:
I say, let the carnage continue. If you are investing for the long term, who cares? In fact, I hope the market corrects another 20%. Why? Because I am always buying and have been every month since 1986. As an illustration, simply look at your Money Is Time graph. A $10,000 investment in the S&P 500 index in 1980 grew to $1.09 million in 2021. Impressive! Remember, in the short term, the stock market will always go up and down. The day, month, and year of accurately predicting whether the market will be up or down—well, we’ll leave that to the proven experts, the oracles, the lucky.

Tom Verdi, Providence, R.I.

Pharma Booster

To the Editor:
I’ve been an owner of Bristol Myers Squibb stock for more than 50 years, and during that time it has given me not only healthy gains, but also a booster shot with its dividends (“Buy This Pharma Stock. Its Rally Is Just Getting Started,” May 26). It is always coming out with new products that are prolonging our lives. Its market value is over $165 billion, and I intend to hold on to this stock for the next 20 years.

Martin Blumberg, Melville, N.Y.

Snowflake Caveats

To the Editor:
Two things caught my attention in Eric J. Savitz’ recommendation of the “de-risked” shares of Snowflake (“Snowflake Stock Looks Attractive—2 Years After Its Crazy IPO,” May 27). First, his analysis comes a week after Al Root urged caution in Snowflake, due to the company’s prodigious use of stock-based compensation (“Warning to Bargain Hunters: 6 Stocks That Aren’t as Cheap as They Look,” May 20). Second, Savitz references the “backing of Warren Buffett” as another compelling reason to buy. However, given the relatively modest size of Berkshire Hathaway’s investment ($750 million) and its tech orientation, one can assume that it was undertaken by one of Buffett’s two investment lieutenants. While there may be legitimate arguments for buying Snowflake, a misperceived imprimatur from the Oracle of Omaha is not one of them.

Rusty Thomas, Saratoga, Calif.

Getting It Wrong

To the Editor:
Ben Bernanke avoids key influences on inflation in “Bernanke: Why the Fed Didn’t Act Faster to Rein In Inflation” (Other Voices, May 25). The enhanced unemployment benefits and stimulus checks encouraged workers to stay home at the same time when they were needed to fill overstimulated demand and avoid supply shortages. Also, the Biden administration’s war on fossil fuels, which continues to this day, raises prices not only on energy, but also on fertilizer, feedstocks, plastics, and even clothing. Democrat Larry Summers and all 50 Republican senators got it right. The administration and the Fed got it wrong.

William Doyle, Atlanta, Ga.

Send letters to: mail@barrons.com. To be considered for publication, correspondence must bear the writer’s name, address, and phone number. Letters are subject to editing.

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