Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, spoke about bitcoin (BTC) and digital currencies in two separate interviews last Thursday (18). At first, he said the world would be better off without innovations like cryptocurrencies because they facilitate some criminal activities. However, he took a more subdued tone during a television program, when he stated that he took a “neutral position” in the face of bitcoin and that he supports moving money to a “more digital form and with less transaction costs”.
Gates criticizes cryptocurrencies, but backs off
During an interview for the The Wall Street Journal, Gates answered the question: “What technological innovation would the world be better off without?” The Microsoft founder promptly turned to digital currencies. “The way cryptocurrencies work today allows for certain criminal activities. It would be good to get rid of it ”.
However, Gates backed off shortly thereafter. “I probably should have said biological weapons. This is a very bad thing. We shouldn’t have the technology for that. Biological weapons is the right answer, ”he rephrased.
Neutral position towards bitcoin
On the same day that this interview was published, Bill Gates participated in the “Squawk Box” program at CNBC. There he was asked again about cryptocurrencies, specifically regarding bitcoin and its role in climate change, since mining activity consumes a lot of electricity.
Gates replied in a short and simple way: “I don’t have bitcoin … so I took a neutral position”. He added that the cryptocurrency can “go up and down only based on euphoria or whatever the views (of the market) are”. He then concludes that he has “no way of predicting how this will progress.”
Microsoft supports “digital form” of money
Without directly mentioning cryptocurrencies or any form of digital currency, Bill Gates also stated that Microsoft supports “moving money to a more digital form and reducing transaction costs”.
He adds: “This is something that the Gates Foundation does in developing countries. But then, we do this so that we can reverse the transaction path so that we have full visibility of who is doing what. This is not about tax evasion or illegal activities. ”
Bill Gates openly criticized bitcoin in 2018
Gates’ new lines show a change in attitude towards bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. In 2018, he openly criticized digital assets during another interview to CNBC.
“As an asset class, you are not producing anything and therefore you should not expect it to appreciate,” said Gates at the time. He also said that bitcoin is a type of investment in the “biggest fool theory”, which explains that a product is priced not for its functionality or real value, but for the simple rule of supply and demand of an industry.
“I would decrease (the price) if there was an easy way to do this,” he concluded. Bitcoin was trading for about $ 9,300 at the time. Compared to the current cryptocurrency quote, there was more than 500% appreciation in that time interval.