Bill Gates: 'I Don't Think Bitcoin's Anonymity is a Good Thing'

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Microsoft founder Bill Gates commented on bitcoin, initial coin offerings, and cryptocurrencies more generally during a Reddit AMA on Tuesday.

Here is an excerpt from that discussion:

"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."

Gates is clearly no fan of the cryptocurrency. In the past, Gates has called bitcoin a “techno tour de force” and discussed the difficulties associated with price volatility.

The billionaire businessman has been especially critical of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies being used for the purchase of the drug fentanyl.  One Redditor commented that physical U.S. dollars are also used in the global drug trade.

“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,” commented Gates.

Forbes Kyle Topsey writes:

Put more simply: If anonymity is not allowed in online payments, then that means someone is tracking all of the financial activity in the world. A refusal to go along with this potential future state of the world in a cashless society is effectively the underlying value proposition of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a hedge against financial surveillance, negative interest rates, government confiscation of money, financial censorship, and a myriad of other issues that may accompany a future where a single entity has complete control over the digital currency of a particular population.

To Gates's point, there would not be much use for bitcoin if every government in the world implemented sound monetary policies, allowed all of their citizens to transact privately, and never seized anyone's assets; however, this obviously not how the world works.

- Alistair Prescott,

Business/Financial News

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