- If you don't understand bitcoin, you're old, 78-year-old billionaire investor Leon Cooperman told CNBC Thursday.
- The Omega Advisors chief said gold is a better place to store value than bitcoin if you're nervous.
- It isn't in US government's interest to further a substitute to the dollar, Cooperman noted.
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Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman told CNBC that people who don't understand bitcoin are likely to be old, and said gold is a better store of value for those looking for a stable haven for their cash.
The Omega Advisors chairman noted that while veteran investor Barry Diller sees cryptocurrencies as a "con job ," he doesn't know whether they are. Instead, he admits that he is in the dark about the digital assets.
"I say that if you don't understand bitcoin, it means you're old. I'm 78. I'm old, I don't understand it," he said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Thursday.
But he said one thing he does know is that it isn't in the US government's interest to make way for a substitute to the dollar.
"My guess is, I'd be very careful in bitcoin. I don't think it makes a great deal of sense," he said. "And if you are nervous about the world, gold would be a better place to store value than bitcoin."
The hedge fund manager did note that he owns very little gold, saying: "You know I'm a paper guy. I'm a perennial optimist."
The precious metal's price is down 9% in the past 12 months, compared with bitcoin's 60% gain in the same period.
Bitcoin had a strong start to the week, breaking out above $50,000 on momentum ahead of El Salvador's historic adoption of the token as legal tender. But its price tumbled as much as 17% on Tuesday to $43,050 after the country's glitch-ridden roll-out was followed by heavy selling on derivatives platforms .
As for stocks, Cooperman said he was keeping an eye on inflation, signals from the Federal Reserve, and interest rates for future investments.
"The market structure is broken so when there's a real fundamental reason for the market to go down, it'll go down so quickly, you're head's gonna spin," he said. "There's no stabilizing force in the market now, it's all run by machines."
Cooperman predicted that there won't be a recession in the US any time soon. He said he sees it as at least a year away, or "maybe longer."