Even insurance guys are buying bitcoin now

Few would challenge the assertion that insurance companies are boring, that virtually everything about them is mind-numbingly, soul-crushingly tedious. On Thursday, however, one of them suddenly decided to loosen its necktie, throw caution to the wind and do something a bit wild, something that was until recently considered downright reckless. Stupid even.

Did it issue a policy to a customer without conducting a comprehensive risk assessment? No, no, much more extreme. It decided to take a chance on a thing that a lot of smart people – from gold bug Peter Schiff and economist Nouriel Roubini to JPMorgan boss Jamie Dimon and celebrity investor Warren Buffet – have for years warned people to stay away from as if it was “rat poison squared,” comparing it to the Dutch Tulip mania or calling it a Ponzi scheme or darknet money.

That thing, of course, is bitcoin. Yes, despite its notorious volatility and its lingering associations with things that are decidedly alien to the world of insurance – like cypherpunk and buying psychedelic drugs online – it decided to venture into unfamiliar fiscal territory. It didn’t just dip its toe into the bath either. It put some serious cash on the table.

Why would such a boring institution suddenly do something so interesting? Well, it was probably a combination of greed and corporate peer pressure, as well as the realization that its treasury is, as MiicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor would put it, “a melting ice cube” due to fiat currency depreciation, a problem analysts expect to be exacerbated by excessive money printing.

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co has been watching on the sidelines as the rapidly growing number of corporate players that have embraced bitcoin – such as MicroStrategy, a software company, Grayscale, an asset management firm, and the payment platform PayPal – have raked in gobsmacking profits. And now it wants to join the party.

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