Bill Gates: Bitcoin “a rare technology” that has been a “fairly direct” cause of deaths

Monday, April 02, 2018 by

Bill Gates, the man who was once known as the richest person in the world, has been asked his fair share of financially related questions over the years. One of the more recent ones that the former tech industry mogul had to answer was about cryptocurrencies, specifically what he thought about them. Almost immediately, he expressed his disapproval of the interesting new technology.

From his answer, it’s evident that Bill Gates is quite apprehensive of cryptocurrencies in general. He pointed out that their inherent anonymity gives its users the freedom to perform otherwise dangerous or illegal acts, and it’s something that needs to be looked into.

According to Gates, cryptocurrencies effectively work against everyone’s best interests. “The main feature of [cryptocurrencies] is their anonymity,” he explained. “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.”

In Gates’ view, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are helping to enable criminal activity in ways that are harder for law enforcement and governments to detect, much less put an end to. As an alternative to cash and credit cards, cryptocurrencies gained a reputation for their use in certain “under the radar” activities that either toe the legal line or completely fly past it.

“Right now, [cryptocurrencies] are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way,” added Gates. Indeed, it can be considered a menace in that regard, as buying drugs has been one of the most common things to do with cryptocurrencies prior to their surge in popularity during the last 12 months.

As of this time’s writing, the mainstream public has been long familiar with Bitcoin and its ilk, to the point that it’s become fodder for everyday conversation. Gates also addressed this, in a way, by saying, “I think the speculative wave around ICOs and [cryptocurrencies] is super risky for those who go long.” Here, he is referring to the fact that many people are now looking at cryptocurrencies seriously for their investment strategies while hoping to strike it big.

From its humble beginnings as a blockchain-based technology that was supposed to “replace” cash money as currency in the real world, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have now turned into mere financial instruments that are traded in order to either make money or simply round out a stock portfolio. People have invested millions into it, only to suffer huge loses when the spike in its supposed trading price fell through after the initial hype surrounding it late last year finally went down.

So even in their new supposed purpose, cryptocurrencies appear to be a failure. Is there any hope left for their use as cash replacements in society? Gates knows all about the comparisons between them and cash but draws a clear line despite their apparent similarities. When someone pointed out that the U.S. dollar is also being used to buy drugs like fentanyl, 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.”

Whether he’s wrong or right, he does bring up some valid points. And cryptocurrencies have indeed caused some very real dangers to the world. Try explaining that to someone who gains an interesting in trading or simply holding them, and see if they still maintain their enthusiasm once you’re done.

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