Bill Gates on what’s wrong with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies

 ·28 Feb 2018

Microsoft founder and the world’s wealthiest man, Bill Gates, recently hosted an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) thread on social media site Reddit.

Gates was asked a number of questions on a variety of topics – including philanthropy, coding, Tesla, and Microsoft – but several standout questions dealt with finances and cryptocurrencies.

Notably, Reddit user Askur1337 simply asked Gates – ‘What’s your opinion on Crypto Currencies?’.

Gates responded:

The main feature of crypto currencies is their anonymity. I don’t think this is a good thing. The Government’s 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.

A quick commenter pointed out that the US dollar could just as easily be used to buy drugs such as ‘fentanyl’, to which Gates replied:

Yes – anonymous cash is used for these kinds of things but you have to be physically present to transfer it which makes things like kidnapping payments more difficult.

Gates’ comments come after renowned investor Warren Buffett took a strong stance against investing in the technology.

In January, Buffett reiterated that investing directly into Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is still a bad idea.

Buffett said that neither he, nor his long-time partner Charlie Munger, had taken any position on cryptocurrencies.

“We don’t own any, we’re not short any, we’ll never have a position in them. In terms of cryptocurrencies, generally, I can say with almost certainty that they will come to a bad ending,” he said.

Gates also directly mentioned Buffett when asked whether he believes there will be another financial crisis in the future, similar to the global financial market crash seen in 2008:

Yes. It is hard to say when, but this is a certainty. Fortunately we got through that one reasonably well. Warren (Buffett) has talked about this and he understands this area far better than I do.

Despite this prediction of bumps ahead, I am quite optimistic about how innovation and capitalism will improve the situation for humans everywhere.

You can read the full AMA here.

Read: How Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining is hurting astronomers in South Africa

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