4th Richest Billionaire, Bill Gates, Shares Opinions on Bitcoin; Throws Shade At the Asset’s Volatility

Bill Gates has claimed that he doesn't hold a specific view on Bitcoin as an investment. Microsoft has refrained from integrating Bitcoin in any way, although the company's bosses aren't ruling it out.

  • Bitcoin continues to draw reactions from some of the world's most notable names, whether in tech, political, or finance.
  • In a recent interview, however, Microsoft founder and former chief executive Bill Gates explained that he is standing on the fence regarding the asset.

Sitting on the Fence

Bill Gates appeared on CNBC Squawk Box, where he spoke with host Andrew Ross Sorkin on several topics, including cryptocurrency. Sharing a summary of the interview, Sorkin explained that he had approached the billionaire about his opinions on Bitcoin and its climate change implications.

Like many billionaires, Gates has focused more on his philanthropic efforts in the past few years. After spending decades fighting malaria, the billionaire is now looking to improve environmental sustainability and eradicate the coronavirus. Considering that Bitcoin had always been criticized for the effect that mining has on the environment, Sorkin was curious to know Gates' take on the leading cryptocurrency.

Sharing his views, Gates explained that he is pretty much sitting on the fence as far as Bitcoin is concerned. The billionaire explained that while he doesn't own any Bitcoin, he doesn't think less of the leading digital asset as well.

However, Gates went in a more nuanced direction, explaining that he recognized Bitcoin's potential for digitizing asset management and speeding up transactions. Comparing that to the work of his Gates Foundation, the former CEO explained,

“I do think moving money into a more digital form and getting transaction costs down, that's something the Gates Foundation does in developing countries. But there, we do it so that you can reverse the transactions and you have total visibility over who's doing what.”

Gates added that he was also skeptical of Bitcoin's volatility, explaining that he didn't know how to predict the asset's progression since it always seems susceptible to speculative mania.

Microsoft Watches as Tech Goes Crypto

While Gates appears to be minding his words, the billionaire has been a pretty sharp critic of cryptocurrencies in the past. In a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session back in 2018, the billionaire criticized cryptocurrencies' anonymous nature, explaining that it was generally not a good thing,

At the time, Gates explained that cryptocurrencies were being used to purchase illegal drugs and substances from nefarious individuals. Given that these drugs end up in the United States and have been feeding the country's opioid crisis, he pinned some of the country's drug-related deaths on cryptocurrencies.

Gates and Microsoft also appear to remain uncommitted to cryptocurrencies, despite the market's incredible maturity over the past year.

Several tech companies already made the move to crypto in the past few months, including auto manufacturer Tesla and payment processors MasterCard and PayPal. This week, e-commerce behemoth Amazon also posted job openings for engineers as it looks to build a digital currency. Despite all these tech-crypt integrations, Microsoft has chosen to stay away from the crypto market.

Brad Smith, the Seattle-based tech giant's president, told CNN this week that they have so far not had any discussions about making any crypto investments. While he left the door open for a possible pivot, he asserted that there are no plans for now.

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