While predicting that the future of payments lies with digital currencies, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates highlighted a “neutral view” on bitcoin. Nevertheless, he suggested that the digital form of money would need to enable transaction reversals and complete visibility.
I Don’t Own Any Bitcoin, Says Gates
The 65-year old US business magnate, author, and philanthropist seems slightly more optimistic on bitcoin now compared to a few years ago. During the year-long bear market in 2018, Gates said that he would be short on BTC if “there was an easy way to do it.”
Furthermore, he was given one bitcoin as a birthday gift years prior, but he quickly disposed of it. Despite saying that he still doesn’t own any BTC now, though, he has taken a more “neutral” approach towards the asset, as he revealed in a more recent CNBC interview.
“I don’t own bitcoin. I’m not short bitcoin; I’ve taken a neutral view.”
Nevertheless, he believes that digital currencies will eventually become the main form of payment methods. He noted that the Gates Foundation is actively exploring such payment options that could also decrease transaction costs. However, according to Gates, there’re several vital differences between BTC and the digital form of payments they are using:
“But there we do it so that you can reverse transactions, so you have total visibility of who’s doing what, so it’s not about tax avoidance or illegal activity.”
As far as BTC’s price goes, Gates said that it could go up or down based on the current mania, but he has no way of predicting whether it will continue surging.
Is That What BTC Is All About?
Although Gates didn’t precisely assert that BTC is used only for illicit activities now, he has previously claimed that cryptocurrencies harm people’s lives in a “fairly direct way” as they enable bad actors to transact somewhat anonymously on the black markets.
He had a point that Bitcoin transactions do not allow reversals due to the unique way the BTC network works. However, the Bitcoin blockchain allows precisely what the Gates Foundation’s digital currency aims for – total visibility.
All transactions are registered and shown on the blockchain. This has enabled authorities to track illegal activities and catch bad actors in the past.
And, while BTC has indeed seen some usage in illicit transactions, so has cash and even the heavily-regulated banking organizations. Leaked documents from FinCEN revealed last year that some of the world’s largest banks had laundered trillions of dollars for Ponzi schemes, terrorist organizations, and blatant scams for years.
Featured Image Courtesy of Time