Balaji Srinivasan said Tuesday that his $1 million bet on bitcoin (BTC) closed early, and he donated $1.5 million ($500,000 more than required) to three different entities as a settlement process.
Former CTO of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and ex-partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Srinivasan said in mid-March — shortly after the failures of Silvergate Bank, Signature Bank and Silicon Valley Bank — that he expected a banking crisis to trigger a significant drop in the value of The US dollar, hyperinflation, and a bitcoin boom to $1 million by mid-June. He put in a million dollars to back up his predictions.
“I just burned a million telling you they print trillions,” He tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. “I spent my own money to send a proven costly signal that something was wrong with the economy, that it wasn’t going to be a ‘soft landing’ like [Federal Reserve Chair Jerome] Powell promises – but of something much worse.”
He noted that current US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was on the Federal Reserve before the 2008 global financial crisis and failed to sound any alarms, nor did then-Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. Today’s group of leaders, including Powell, is in a similar state of denial, Srinivasan said.
He said that crises can move much faster than anyone imagined. Srinivasan claimed it took the Fed two days to print $300 billion after the Silicon Valley bank failure, two weeks for $500 billion to leave the banking system, two months to move from “patient zero” to a national lockdown during COVID-19, and two quarters to go from a mild recession to a crisis. Financial in 2008 and two years to go from the Soviet Union from superpower to collapse in 1991.
Others have a different explanation for the $300m growth on the Fed’s balance sheet after Silicon Valley. Economist and former Federal Reserve employee Danielle DiMartino Booth argued at the time That jump was not the printing of money, but instead, a boom in the Fed’s discount window and other borrowing by the country’s banks.
At the conclusion of his $1 million bet, Srinivasan made three donations of $500,000, one to fund Bitcoin Core development at Chaincode Labs, one to give directly and one to pseudonymous Twitter user James Medlock, who back in March offered to bet $1 million on the US. Do not suffer from hyperinflation.
Update (9:35 PM UTC, May 2, 2023): Add comment from DiMartino Booth.