Bill Gates is one of those charismatic personalities who never shies away from speaking his mind. Usually, this is a reason for concern or outrage, but every once in a while, it spurs a whole new discussion. This time, he made an interesting comment in regards to Bitcoin.
As you can see and hear for yourself in the Bloomberg video below, Bill Gates is talking about Bitcoin. Mr. Gates finds Bitcoin “exciting because it’s cheap”. which is not a statement you’d come to expect from him of all people. Especially considering he called Bitcoin a “technological tour-de-force” earlier this year.
As Bill Gates is also co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, whose efforts to fight back against financial inequity around the world do not go by unnoticed, Mr Gates gave the final speech at SIBOS 2014 yesterday. This is where the whole Bitcoin discussion originated.
During this speech, Bill Gates touched upon the subject of digital financial services, and how existing financial institutions should use the services to provide services to developing countries. After hearing this, Bloomberg News’ Eric Schatzker decided to ask Mr. Gates’s opinion on whether he believes Bitcoin is the answer to countering the overhead cost of moving money from one place to another.
“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. The customers we’re talking about aren’t trying to be anonymous. You know they’re willing to be known so the Bitcoin technology is key and you could add to it or you could build a similar technology where there’s enough attribution that people feel comfortable this is nothing to do with terrorism or any type of money laundering.“
-Bill Gates , Co-founder of Microsoft
There are several things you can take away from his response. The first thing is Bitcoin eliminates the need for people to be in the same place at the same time when transferring a large amount of money. Even though Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer digital currency, no one said it has to be traded face-to-face, thus somewhat still allowing for anonymity and privacy.
However, being anonymous is not what using Bitcoin is about. Sure, you can choose to remain anonymous, but a lot of people are interested in finding out how the technology works and what it can do. Hence why it is, for me personally anyway, always great fun to attend Bitcoin conferences or talk to everyday people about the possibilities of using Bitcoin. I have nothing to hide , and neither do most of us.
Which brings me to the last part of Bill Gates’ comment. Bitcoin has nothing to do with terrorism or any kind of money laundering. Thank god there is finally someone high up who understands this. Every time you mention Bitcoin, people hastily add money laundering to the discussions because they don’t (want to) understand the technology. It is refreshing to hear a prominent figure in the tech world say something all of us enthusiasts have been saying for years.