As cryptocurrencies become more widely adopted around the world and blockchain is touted as one of the most important technological achievements of the 21st century, many people wonder if Bill Gates, the co-founder of the American technology mammoth Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), has already jumped on the crypto train.
Curiously, despite being one of the most famous ambassadors of technological advancement, Gates still remains very skeptical – if not outright disapproving – about the crypto industry, primarily concerned about volatility and the use of crypto in illegal activities.
As it happens, the legendary Microsoft co-founder has publicly discussed Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrencies over time, but he has never disclosed whether he had any. It seems the chances are slim because his comments related to crypto made at a TechCrunch conference in June 2022 reveal he is still on the fence.
‘Greater fool theory’
According to a CNN report at the time, Gates was quoted as saying that cryptos and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) were “100% based on greater fool theory,” referring to profiting on worthless or overvalued assets as long as people are willing to bid them higher, adding that he was “not long or short” on crypto.
As he explained:
“I’m used to asset classes, like a farm where they have output, or like a company where they make products.”
Earlier, in 2021, Gates said in an interview with CNBC that he was ‘neutral’ on Bitcoin, stating he did not own any and criticizing its volatility, although he did acknowledge crypto’s goal of making money more digital and getting transactions down, which was “something the Gates Foundation does in developing countries.”
‘Better than currency’?
Interestingly, in October 2014, Gates, however, praised Bitcoin as ‘better than currency’ in a BloombergTV interview on the sidelines of the ‘Sibos 2014’ financial services industry conference in Boston.
“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.”
Addressing the attendees at the conference, the Microsoft co-founder reiterated his opinion on crypto and stressed that financial transactions in the future would be “digital, universal, and almost free.” However, he also criticized the anonymity of virtual assets like Bitcoin.
Moreover, during a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session in February 2014, he stated that his organization was “involved in digital money, but unlike Bitcoin, it would not be anonymous digital money,” as he referred to Vodaphone M-pesa, a mobile phone-based money transfer and microfinancing service in Kenya backed by his foundation.
All things considered, Bill Gates does not seem to be a vocal fan of crypto but hope remains as his views do not seem to be as scathing as those of, for instance, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) CEO Warren Buffett, who has slammed cryptocurrencies as “rat poison,” and his vice chairman Charlie Munger who referred to them a “bad combination” of “partly fraud and partly delusion.”