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Billionaire media mogul Barry Diller calls cryptocurrencies a ‘con’ and says price forecasts are ‘nutso’

IAC Chairman Barry Diller.

Cryptocurrencies are a “con,” the billionaire investor Barry Diller told CNBC on Friday. He voiced his distrust of the asset class that’s been dragged sharply lower this week largely on regulatory concerns.

The chairman of IAC, which runs internet and media brands including Care.com and The Daily Beast, initially balked at the question from “Squawk Box” about his thoughts on digital currency but quickly proceeded to answer.

“Yeah, absolutely,” he said as he confirmed his view that cryptocurrency is a con. “I watch some of the people that you have on and they talk about it – $40,000, $12,000, whatever. I think, ‘This is nutso talk,'” he said.

Diller, also the chairman of Expedia and the founder of Fox Broadcasting, made his comments on the same day that bitcoin swung down 10% after China reiterated its call to restrict mining and trading activities surrounding the largest cryptocurrency.

China’s statement, led by Vice Premier Liu He, threw off course bitcoin’s attempt to recover losses from its slide of more than 35% in a matter of days. A midweek sell-off was sparked after the People’s Bank of China said digital tokens couldn’t be used as a payment form by financial institutions. Other cryptocurrencies, including ether, the token of the ethereum blockchain, were also slammed lower in the wake of China’s regulatory threats.

Diller sat down with CNBC in an interview, during which he called this week’s merger plan between AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Discovery a “great escape” for AT&T.

Next week, IAC is set to spin off the video-hosting site Vimeo, whose shares are set to trade under the “VMEO” ticker on the Nasdaq starting Tuesday.

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