Skip to content

Former Microsoft boss Bill Gates yesterday answered questions from Reddit users. On the subject of crypto currencies, he wrote that their most important characteristic is their anonymity. This is a rare technology that has even led to the death of people via detours. The reactions to his statements at Reddit and in the social networks were accordingly critical.

The reactions at Reddit were very different

In his function as second chairman of the "Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation", the Microsoft founder yesterday asked himself the questions of Reddit users. The questions were about medical or economic issues and also how he evaluates his time at Microsoft in retrospect. However, attention was drawn to a completely different question, namely what he considered to be the topic of crypto currencies. Bill Gates replied that the most important characteristic of all crypto currencies is that they are anonymous. "I don't think that's a good thing," he added. This hinders the government from prosecuting crimes such as money laundering, tax evasion and terrorist financing. Currently, in his view, crypto currencies are mainly used to buy the narcotic fentanyl and other drugs online. Gates therefore regards crypto currencies as a rare technology that is said to have even led to deaths in these ways - whereby he describes the causal connection as "fairly direct". He also warns against investing in ICOs or crypto currencies because they are basically "super risky".

Some users pointed out to the founder of the Redmond software company that Microsoft Windows can be just as helpful for dealers and terrorists as the use of crypto currencies. If you just wanted to, you could transfer that to pretty much anything. Someone wrote: "Terrorists breathe air. Shouldn't that be prevented?" The danger potential of tennis shoes should not be underestimated either, joked one Reddit user. Other commentators believe that Gates is only concerned with the loss of control of central banks and governments. In contrast to conventional paper money, decentralised digital currencies cannot be controlled from above.

Gates' opinion is inconsistent

In October 2014, Gates told Bloomberg TV that he considered the Bitcoin to be "exciting" and better than any conventional currency. Even if you don't have physical control over the coins, you can easily carry out transactions to distant countries. But even then he criticized the pseudo-anonymous transactions that are possible with the Bitcoin. The joint foundation of his wife and him was working on their own digital currency. Gates added, however, that this would not make anonymous transfers possible. So far, nothing has been seen of the announced Gates Coin. In 2015, the foundation invested 100,000 US dollars in Ghana to set up a mobile payment platform called Bitsoko, which would enable inexpensive transactions and purchases via Bitcoin in Africa. This may be welcome. But it also shows quite clearly how little uniform Gates is set on the subject of crypto currencies.