The future of digital currencies. Barron’s Letters to the Editor.

For the editor:
Your cover story (“Beyond the Crypto Freeze,” May 27) should be enlightening to anyone reading it. The roundtable panelists provided a great start to an ongoing discussion about cryptocurrencies. While Eswar Presad said that Bitcoin had “no intrinsic value”, Dan Morehead repeatedly referred to Bitcoin as “digital gold”. Inasmuch as the entire panel apparently agreed that Bitcoin has moved with the market, one could therefore argue that Bitcoin is not necessarily a “store of value”. Lisa Shalett made perhaps the best argument in reference to Fidelity’s folly trying to push a program to use 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 violate any form of fiduciary responsibility of Street.

Philip Becker, Glendale, CA.

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

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

I. Al Djindil, Naples, Florida.

Strategies and risks

For the editor:
I enjoyed all of the insightful strategies on planning for retirement in this turbulent market (“How Retirees and Retirement Savers Can Navigate the Market Turmoil,” May 27). However, in my opinion, the danger of “return streak risk” and how to prepare for it has not been emphasized enough. This is the risk that investors will experience negative portfolio returns very late in their working life or early in retirement. The timing of bad returns, while starting to pull back [money] of 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 cash available for several years, so that the retiree does not need to withdraw funds when the market is down. Another option is to work part-time at the start of retirement. This extra income can lessen the impact of a bad market and high inflation. This is the closest strategy to a silver bullet for most retirees and should be seriously considered.

Jonathan I. Shenkman, West Hempstead, NY

For the editor:
I say, let the carnage continue. If you’re investing for the long term, who cares? In fact, I hope the market corrects another 20%. Why? Because I’m still buying and have been every month since 1986. For illustration, just look at your Money Is Time chart. A $10,000 investment in the S&P 500 in 1980 grew to $1.09 million in 2021. Impressive! Remember that in the short term, the stock market will always go up and down. The day, month and year to accurately predict whether the market will be bullish or bearish, well, we’ll leave that to the seasoned experts, the oracles, the lucky ones.

Tom Verdi, Providence, RI

Pharmaceutical Booster

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

Martin Blumberg, Melville, NY

Warnings about snowflakes

For the editor:
Two things caught my attention in Eric J. Savitz’s recommendation of Snowflake’s “risk-free” stock (“Snowflake Stock Looks Attractive—2 Years After Its Crazy IPO,” May 27). First, his analysis comes a week after Al Root called for 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 refers to “Warren Buffett’s endorsement” as another compelling reason to buy. However, given the relatively modest size of Berkshire Hathaway’s investment ($750 million) and its technological focus, one can assume that it was undertaken by one of Buffett’s two investment lieutenants. While there may be legitimate arguments to buy Snowflake, an ill-perceived imprimatur from the Oracle of Omaha is not one of them.

Rusty Thomas, Saratoga, CA.

Be mistaken

For the editor:
Ben Bernanke avoids key influences on inflation in “Bernanke: Why the Fed Didn’t Act Faster to Curb Inflation” (Other Voices, May 25). Improved unemployment benefits and stimulus checks have encouraged workers to stay home at the same time when needed to meet overstimulated demand and avoid supply shortages. Moreover, the Biden administration’s war on fossil fuels, which continues to this day, is driving up the prices not only of energy, but also of fertilizers, raw materials, plastics and even clothing. Democrat Larry Summers and the 50 Republican senators got it right. The administration and the Fed got it wrong.

William Doyle, Atlanta, Ga.

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