Bill Gates recently took some time out of his busy schedule, which includes inventing synthetic meat, curing polio, and preparing his kids for college, to participate in one of Reddit's Ask Me Anything threads. During his AMA, Gates covered a range of topics, reminding us just how insanely intelligent he is. But one comment regarding cryptocurrency proved to be particularly unsettling.
When asked his opinion on the untraceable transaction system, Gates warned that cryptocurrencies have the potential to be very dangerous, even going so far as to say that they might be responsible for directly killing people in some instances. Gates cautioned that, because of the technology's anonymity, it opens the door for shady dealings that can go unnoticed by the government.
"The main feature of cryptocurrencies is their anonymity. I don't think this is a good thing. The Governments 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," Gates said.
It's disturbing to think of cryptocurrencies in the dangerous terms Gates is describing, but it makes sense that devious people with an insidious agenda would take advantage of the benefits of untraceable money. Gates' comments, however, did receive some expected backlash from fans of the new technology.
In a comment to Newsweek, the CEO of CryptoCompare, Charles Hayter, admitted Gates' comments were "true to an extent but extremely naive." Hayter explained that, although crypto first took off in the dark markets, this use is steadily decreasing. He also reminded everyone that the traditional dollar has been the source of scandal as well.
"That trend is declining with the majority of business now legitimate. The dollar has had its fair share of direct deaths, too, and will continue to do so. We have to look beyond these initial trials and tribulations towards the potential for a dimensionless value transfer system," Hayter said.
Though Gates and pro-crypto advocates seem to be at odds with the technology's moral ramifications, the bitcoin is currently valued at $10,500 per coin, according to Newsweek. Read the full thread of Bill Gates' AMA on Reddit.