Jim Cramer, the TV clown your grandpa watches when he can’t find the remote, had some horrifying news for viewers of his CNBC program Mad Money on Tuesday. Apparently, there are people on TV who are over-hyping crypto, according to Cramer. Yes, you read that correctly.
Jim Cramer, the guy who told people to buy ethereum at $2,900, shortly before it crashed to $965, is extremely worried about people on TV who are promoting crypto. And while Cramer admits he’s made money on crypto—though he hasn’t revealed how much nor precisely when he sold—he believes it’s time for journalists on TV to stop reporting on crypto as seriously as the stock market.
“I’m beginning to think that these are Seinfeld assets. They’re about nothing,” Cramer said on Tuesday in a reference that’s over 30 years old.
Cramer talked about all the small crypto coins that are currently trading on major exchanges like Coinbase and explained that people running pump-and-dump schemes could face legal problems. He went on to make another dated cultural reference—this time to Webistics, a storyline about a fictional financial scam from The Sopranos that aired in 2000. After all that, Cramer seemed to land on something resembling a point.
“I’m beginning to wonder whether one day sometime soon we won’t even need to have these [cryptocurrencies] quoted on the side of the television screen anymore,” Cramer said. “Won’t need or maybe... shouldn’t.”
You can tell Cramer really thought he’d made a profound point about journalism ethics when he said this. You can see it in Cramer’s face—the look a basset hound might make when he thinks you’re hiding his favorite toy.
“I think it’s time we started questioning the fundamentals of crypto and I don’t like when [we] questioned the dot com movement in 2000-2001. When all things crypto took off with great fanfare like the dot com bombs, we were told that they were stores of value, that they meant something, that they would be around for a long time,” Cramer said.
“I believed that wrap, 300 of them went out of business,” Cramer continued. “I’m at least big enough to admit that this time I was wrong about crypto. I wish the real promoters would do the same.”
After that moment of compunction, Cramer’s segment really went off the rails and failed to provide even the smallest amount of self-reflection.
“Just because you make money in it, which I was fortunate enough to do, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s for real,” Cramer said, in what may be the most awkward line-reading of his entire monologue.
“And then there was this period where every athlete and celebrity were showing up in these crypto ads. A brooding Joel Embiid, a hilarious time-traveling Matt Damon, a young-as-ever Tom Brady. LeBron James going to the League, Reese Witherspoon, who’s a genius, and even Gwenyth Paltrow, who’s above everything, but still didn’t go to her cousin Rebecca’s wedding,” Cramer continued.
The problem, of course, is that Jim Cramer was incredibly bullish on crypto at the exact same time these ads by other famous people were running. He was even telling people to buy ether at $2,900, a price that still looks unbelievably high here at the end of August.
“I think ethereum is terrific. I’m a believer. And I think you could easily get 35-40 percent,” Cramer said on his show on April 28, 2022.
Ethereum plunge hard after Cramer’s prediction, dipping to just $965 after his recommendation. But if Cramer made money on crypto, it makes you wonder when he sold. He didn’t really start to get pessimistic on crypto until perhaps July. Did he sell before then? Or is he merely talking about his trades in 2021 when he says he made money?
At one point in Cramer’s monologue on Tuesday, after rattling off the list of celebrities who promoted crypto earlier this year, the Mad Money host actually said, “everybody who’s promoted this stuff is looking pretty funny.” The fact that he fails to follow up his comment with a montage of all the times he promoted crypto on CNBC feels like a missed opportunity for cinematic greatness.
The clip from Cramer’s show last night is available on YouTube, and it’s worth watching if you haven’t seen Cramer perform his little clown routine in a while. Cramer’s act is really starting to show its age. His cadence is incredibly stilted and his arm movements are awkward, making you wonder how long he can keep his whole song and dance going. It’s hard to image Gen Z watching this bullshit. Back in June, Cramer even had the gall to say that Gen Z was buying too many $14 margaritas at his own restaurant, without mentioning just how many of his investment tips have been disasters for the people who got involved.
There’s a real school of thought that you can make money trading the opposite of whatever Jim Cramer suggests on TV every day, known as the Inverse Jim Cramer Strategy. But in this case, Cramer is definitely correct, even if it’s a little late, and he’s already cashed out. You would have made money if you shorted ethereum when he said to buy it at $2,900.
Investing in cryptocurrency is nothing but gambling. True believers will trot out arguments about how bitcoin is a store of value or about how it’s a finite asset because of the math involved. But that simply doesn’t matter. Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency in circulation, is a speculative asset that doesn’t actually work well as a currency, and, while there are a finite number of coins, people can make an infinite number of new “finite” coins: Bitcoin 2.0, Bitcoin 3.0, and so on.