One of the world’s most affluent persons, Bill Gates, appears to have bought in to the rhetoric of popular media and government law enforcement accounts. Recently, Mr. Gates and his wife submitted to a Reddit Ask-Me-Anything (AMA), and Mr. Gates’ gave some unusual views on cryptocurrency.
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Bill Gates Was Once Pro Crypto
The popular social media billboard platform, Reddit, is famous for its innovative feature, Ask-Me-Anything (AMA). It’s a freewheeling, open (mostly) question and response thread placing constituents or fans in near direct contact with the connected, famous, powerful.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates, 62, for close to a quarter century has occupied the title of Forbes‘ richest person in the world. Estimates in the many tens of billions float about Mr. Gates, as he’s since retired from active corporate and software development duty and instead developed into a philanthropist of the first order. Indeed, he and notorious bitcoin skeptic Warren Buffett derived The Giving Pledge, handing over half their wealth to foundations, attracting other billionaires to do similarly in the process.
Questions during Mr. Gates’ sixth AMA revolved from the silly to topically pertinent, and inevitably headed toward cryptocurrency. Askur1337 put it straight: “Whats [sic] your opinion on Crypto Currencies?” In truth, it isn’t entirely obvious just what Mr. Gates believes. As far back as 2014, he’d lauded the decentralized currency. He insisted to Bloomberg then, “Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be. Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t have to be physically in the same place and, of course, for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient.”
A year later, he’d come off such optimism, explaining bitcoin could “make moving money between countries easier and getting fees down pretty dramatically,” but “bitcoin won’t be the dominant system. We need things that draw on the revolution of bitcoin, but bitcoin alone is not good enough.” It was enough to have some crypto news outlets refer to Mr. Gates as a “bitcoin enthusiast.”
Death Caused by Crypto Fairly Direct
It’s pretty clear now such characterization is far, far off the mark. “The main feature of crypto currencies is their anonymity,” Mr. Gates began his rather terse answer in this year’s AMA. The hard truth is, of course, cryptocurrency is largely pseudo anonymous, and truly ghost cryptos are few and far between.
Nevertheless, Mr Gates continued, “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,” repeating cannards long ago discarded by sober analysts. “Right now crypto currencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs,” he typed, “so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way.”
The qualifier there, “fairly,” allows some wiggle room if Mr. Gates is ever cornered by such a statement. Blaming cryptocurrency as a cause of death because a few have used one to ingest the other is oddly hysterical for Mr. Gates. A simple thought experiment should suffice: consider all the overdoses prior to crypto’s genesis in 2009. Had, at any time, anyone, including Mr. Gates, an intensely public figure asked for comment continuously, ever blamed government fiat paper money? Has anyone ever linked ATM cards, debit cards, the technology of plastic credit cards to have “caused deaths in a fairly direct way?”
What do you think drove Mr. Gates’ change? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, Reddit.
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