Bill Gates, the billionaire co-founder of the tech giant, Microsoft has issued warnings against bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session hosted on Reddit on Tuesday, February 27, 2018, he stated that cryptocurrencies were causing deaths “in a fairly direct way.”
He further went on to say that the anonymity and lack of proper regulations for the crypto market was not a good thing. The second richest individual in the world, according to Forbes, is of the opinion that a decentralized currency framework not controlled by a central bank or a government is an avenue for criminal activities.
These comments by Bill Gates are in keeping with the established anti-crypto narrative that sees virtual currencies as a means to support illegal activities.
According to Bill Gates, criminals can use the anonymous and unregulated crypto market to engage in black market transactions, tax evasion, money laundering, terrorist financing and sundry illicit/illegal activities.
Many governments around the world have expressed concern over fears that cryptocurrencies have the potential for money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF). This has led to increased efforts to regulate, and sometimes even crack down on the market altogether.
During the AMA session, Bill Gates used fentanyl as an example. It has been reported that cryptocurrencies are being used to purchase the pain medication online without doctor’s prescription. This has led to several cases of overdoses and eventual death.
He said that the anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies had the potential to put people’s lives in danger due to the lack of any external oversight or control. The renowned entrepreneur said that government control over financial systems was crucial to the fight against financial crimes and terrorism.
According to him, the anonymous nature of cryptos is creating a situation that is detrimental to the efforts of governments around the world. He also weighed in on the speculative nature of the market, calling it risky for long-term investors.
Crypto enthusiasts for their part will disagree strongly with Bill Gates. The philosophy behind the creation of cryptocurrencies as expressed by pioneers of the system was based on a lack of trust in the capitalist financial institutions.
Young Bill Gates would be building a blockchain company right now.
— Naval (@naval) February 28, 2018
The 2008 financial crisis which many believed was deliberately orchestrated to strip middle-class individuals of what little wealth they had in favor of the banking class pushed people away from the mainstream financial market. This led to the emergence of a much stronger anti-establishment sentiment than had previously existed.
The entire premise of the cryptocurrency market as envisioned by the originators of the system is one in which the commonwealth of the people is in the hands of the people.Despite the seemingly idealistic and puritan nature of the crypto philosophy, the reality on the ground hasn’t almost been the same.
Platforms like Silk Road, Alphabay, as well as pump and dump ICOs, and other illicit/illegal crypto-based activities, has given the market an almost permanent bad image. The potential for misuse which seems to follow the market closely is something that is always pointed out by crypto detractors.
Feature image by Mike Nudelman