Photo by Sebastian Vital/Flickr
It appears like Bill Gates is not a fan of cryptocurrencies.
On Tuesday, in a Reddit AMA, the co-founder of Microsoft and the richest man in the world stated his belief that the anonymity behind the cryptocurrencies is not “a good thing.” He added that society benefits when the governments are able to identify tax evaders, money launderers, and the people that are funding terrorists.
Gates wrote: “The main feature of cryptocurrencies 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.”
He also said that cryptocurrencies have “caused deaths in a fairly direct way.” He noted the ease with which drugs can be easily be purchased online using the digital currencies.
He stated: “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. I think the speculative wave around ICOs and cryptocurrencies is super risky for those who go long.”
Gates defended his initial assertion after a Reddit user replied to say that people can purchase Fentanyl with cash.
Gates said: “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.”
We should note that the fans of cryptocurrencies believe that decentralisation of power and low-cost global money transfers are actually some of the more compelling features of the digital currencies. This means that the remarks of Gates are likely to be welcomed with resistance from the cryptocurrency world.
The full, original comment of Gates:
“The main feature of crypto currencies is their anonymity. I don’t think this is a good thing. The Governments 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.”
You can read the full Reddit AMA with Bill Gates here.