The world’s second richest man accuses cryptocurrencies of causing deaths and the market barely reacted. Bill Gates, the super billionaire and founder of software giant Microsoft, on Tuesday, February 27th during an online Q&A seemingly reversed his previous position on cryptocurrencies and called the emerging asset class out on the anonymity factor.
Gates, who has previously been quoted as calling cryptocurrencies “better than currency” and “exciting because it shows how cheap (transactions) can be.” took to Reddit this week in the sixth installment of his “Ask Me Anything” series and lambasted crypto for its virtually anonymous nature. “The main feature of cryptocurrencies is their anonymity. I don’t think this is a good thing,” he said and went on to claim cryptocurrencies are used by drug users or something “The government’s ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing. 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.”
His statement is partially valid. I mean a lot of Bitcoin was traded for drugs, illegal firearms, and instructions on how to crack a vault door during dark-web marketplace SilkRoad’s heyday. Anonymity-centric digital currencies like Monero, Verge, Z-Cash, and Dash have replaced Bitcoin as the dark web’s most accepted payment methods in recent years. Bill Gates’ new position on cryptocurrencies, zeroes in on the negative aspects of crypto, contract his 2014 statements on crypto “you don’t physically have to be in the same place, and of course, for large transactions, cryptocurrency can get pretty convenient.”
Interestingly enough, his statements also contrast the fact that his philanthropic organisation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also released a software in October 2018, in partnership with Ripple (a crypto firm) in a bid to make it cheaper for developing countries to build financial services infrastructure. Which indicates his confidence in the underlying technology at least. The speculative market brushed these statements off, however, with many dismissing them as early signs of impending senility, and the price of Bitcoin chugged along steadily in search of a strong support line to help catapult it to $11,000.