Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and one of the world’s richest men, appeared live on Reddit yesterday to answer questions from an internet audience. His answer to the question “Whats your opinion on Crypto Currencies?[sic]“ has raised some eyebrows:
“The main feature of crypto currencies is their anonymity. I don’t think this is a good thing. The Governments [sic] ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing. Right now crypto currencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way. I think the speculative wave around ICOs and crypto currencies is super risky for those who go long.”
What is interesting to note is that on his Twitter page, where he announced the appearance, the majority of comments left by other users refer to his comments on cryptocurrency. They are mainly critical.
So terrorists like ISIS when occupied half of Iraq at 2014 they were selling btc ??
I guess the pic here shows clearly selling oil through turkey & Syria border for USD?
— BuzzBooz (@BuzzF88) February 28, 2018
To put the level of response into perspective, Gates answered 33 questions in total, and only one was on the subject of cryptocurrency.
The main feature of cryptocurrency is not anonymity. It’s that for the first time in human history the people have the freedom to transact without allowing the ruling elite to debase the currency and steal from the poor to give to the rich
— Michael Welnick (@bijeebus) February 28, 2018
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Bill Gates was once more optimistic about cryptocurrency. He told Bloomberg TV back in 2014 that he considered Bitcoin to be exciting, and “better than currency” in terms of ease of payment.
However, that was four years ago, which in cryptocurrency years is approximately a century. Even then he was uneasy with the anonymous nature of the system, saying that there would have to be “enough attribution that people feel comfortable”.
In 2015, he talked to Medium about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation using blockchain technology to reach people that do not have access to banking facilities. He said: “There’s a lot that Bitcoin or Ripple and variants can do to make moving money between countries easier and getting fees down pretty dramatically.”
What you should consider is how cryptocurrencies can help people in places like Zimbabwe where their currency is useless. Many have started using Bitcoin instead of local currencies putting them on an even platform with the rest of the world. https://t.co/OHHmPZ0Arz
— Jason Combs (@jasonrcombs) February 28, 2018
But he added that he doesn’t think that Bitcoin will be dominant due to the logistical difficulties that it presents for everyday use.
The comments of its founder aside, Microsoft has an active relationship with cryptocurrency. It has been accepting Bitcoin payments since 2014, although only for a limited range of goods. It is converted immediately into fiat upon receipt. The company has temporarily suspended the option on a few occasions when the price of the currency became too volatile.
In October 2017, the foundation funded Ripple’s development of a software called ‘Mojaloop’, which is a step towards allowing two billion unbanked people to manage money by using online wallets and mobile phones.
And of course, there is Microsoft’s partnership with IOTA.