Speaking with Erik Schatzker from Bloomberg TV’s “Street Smart”, Bill Gates discussed bitcoin and its potential, stating cryptocurrency technology is key.
Microsoft technology advisor and founder of Bill & Melinds Gates Foundation, provided more comments about digital currency then he made earlier. A few months ago, he called bitcoin a “technological tour-de-force”.
Known as the richest man in the world, Gates admitted bitcoin is an exciting opportunity, as it offers transactions at relatively low cost. Gates told Bloomberg TV: “Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be. Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t have to be physically in the same place, and of course for large transactions currency can get pretty inconvenient.”
He gave rather positive comments about bitcoin, saying there is a need for such low-cost solutions on the financial market. Still, Gates noted that cryptocurrency market is not the best example of how it should look like.
Among its disadvantages, Gates pointed to its anonymity and associations with fraud, money laundering and terrorism. This will not likely contribute to the bitcoin mass usage.
He added: “The customers we’re talking about aren’t trying to be anonymous, they’re willing to be known, so bitcoin technology is key and you can add to it or you could build a similar technology where there’s enough attribution where people feel comfortable that this is nothing to do with terrorism or any type of money laundering.”
The interview was taken at Sibos 2014, an annual SWIFT banking and financial conference, which was held in Boston. Gates gave his speech about the financial industry and the challenges it faces. He also spoke on the promise of cryptocurrency and discussed how the global financial institutions should leverage digital financial services.
The first day of the conference featured representatives from Ripple Labs, Ethereum and Circle, who spoke about the developments in the bitcoin sector.
Although Gates gave rather short and brief comments, his statements demonstrate the evolution of his views on bitcoin.
In February, Gates took part in an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on news website Reddit, where he was asked by some users about his views on digital currency.
At the time, he avoided the issue, discussing mainly such digital money networks, as Kenya’s centralized mobile service, M-Pesa.
Gates mentioned bitcoin only once, saying: “The foundation is involved in digital money, but unlike bitcoin it would not be anonymous digital money.”