Pop quiz: Which of Alphabet Inc., Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Netflix Inc. has shouted most to investors about Bitcoin or blockchain?
The answer is… none of the above. Bloomberg’s database of regulatory filings shows no mention of either blockchain or Bitcoin in these companies’ disclosures since 2008. The closest was Netflix CFO David Wells, who said on an earnings call last year that a “borderless currency” within the next decade might be nice.
This apparent silence — and bear in mind regulatory filings don’t cover social media or interviews — is telling. This is a successful billionaire class which embodies mottos like “move fast and break things” or “step by step, ferociously.”
The Winklevoss twins championed Bitcoin, but Mark Zuckerberg never did. Bill Gates has been as dismissive about Bitcoin as Warren Buffett. You still can’t do your shopping on Amazon using digital currencies. Given the volatility of cryptocurrencies, the regulatory risks involved, and deflating demand, it’s little surprise that the biggest steps taken by the tech giants have been banning ads for Bitcoin clones.
But why has there not been more excitement about speculation-free, company-friendly blockchains, which tout distributed ledgers as efficient and secure?
Big banks like HSBC Holdings Plc have been eager to promote it as a more efficient way to move secure data around without hurting its underlying business. Yet almost a decade after Bitcoin’s creation, Zuckerberg only recently pledged to study encryption and virtual currencies; he has now reportedly put a dozen people on the case.