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Blockchain a ‘Good Thing’, Says Bill Gates

Billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates revealed to CNBC recently that, although he owns no Bitcoin, he does recognize the value of the digital currency’s underlying technology, blockchain.

He maintained in an interview with CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’ on Monday, “There’s some really good technology in terms of sharing databases and verifying transactions that is talked about as blockchain, that is a good thing.”

Gates, the world’s third wealthiest man, as well as being a business magnate, is now well established as both a humanitarian and a philanthropist. In 2015, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave a grant of USD 100,000 to blockchain company Bitsoko. The cross-border payment foundation integrates blockchain technology into its mobile money platform in Africa allowing funds to be sent from the developed world through Bitcoin to be received as mobile money. Last year, Bitsoko partnered with Ripple to develop mobile payment technologies for low-income users.

Although the Microsoft principal founder has cooled to Bitcoin in recent years, there was a time he would express more upbeat remarks.  In 2014, he commented to Bloomberg that: “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.”

In the CNBC program, Gates predicted a negative forecast for cryptocurrency, as he sees them lacking in intrinsic value, calling Bitcoin “one of the crazier speculative things” and expressing concerns about illegal activities surrounding digital currency. He complimented the SEC on its regulation:

“The government’s ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing… Right now, cryptocurrencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs, so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way.”

Bill Gates appears to have moved considerably away from cryptocurrencies since his comments made at the Sibos 2014 financial-services industry conference in Boston, when he said in his keynote address that financial transactions in the future would “be digital, universal and almost free”.

 

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