Short selling giant Jim Chanos is still pretty bearish on a number of stocks including Coinbase and Tesla, he said on Thursday.
In a Twitter Spaces conversation, Chanos was asked about the FTX fiasco and whether he thinks institutional investors should have done more to scrutinize founder Sam Bankman-Fried.
Chanos said that the due diligence (or lack thereof) was common behavior in Silicon Valley and the crypto industry for the past few years.
“Look at the texts that were released in conjunction with people wanting to invest in Elon’s Twitter deal,” he said. “You know, ‘I’ll send you a couple billion dollars in effect, no due diligence necessary.’”
“This is the ultimate FOMO [fear of missing out] type market and people are investing in personalities not businesses,” he said, adding that that is a scary development in the investment space.
The Coinbase logo on a smartphone in Los Angeles on April 13, 2021
chris delmas/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Chanos said he remains short on Coinbase
but not because of the FTX blowup and the dive of crypto prices.
“This isn’t about crypto prices. That’s not why we why we shorted the stock and that’s not why we remain short. I mean, crypto prices will obviously fluctuate. It’s really the business model that I don’t think people appreciate here,” he said.
Aside from Coinbase being its “prime short” in the crypto space, Chanos said that there aren’t many other options other than shorting cryptocurrencies themselves.
“There’s the miners, there’s a Coinbase and then you’ve got like the odd one-offs like MicroStrategy
which is which is basically you know a giant closed end fund of Bitcoin trading at a huge premium. But that’s really kind of it. I mean unless you go and short the currencies themselves, there aren’t a lot of choices. So let Coinbase is our prime short in that area,” he said.
Chanos is still short on Tesla
because despite how Chief Executive Elon Musk wants the company to innovate, he says Tesla is still a car company at the end of the day, and will “increasingly” face car company issues.
He said that the luxury car market is becoming a tougher place to maintain margins, something that could present a struggle for Tesla.
“The luxury car market globally is about 4 million units a year and the estimate for next year is that they’re going to sell 2 million. So they’re going to be 50% of the luxury car market globally next year if they hit their numbers and the problem will be for them of course, it’s decelerating sales,” he said.