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Bill Gates, Elon Musk: What the experts think of crypto

·4-min read
Elon Musk, Bill gates and digital representation of a Bitcoin
Elon Musk and Bill Gates have two very different opinions about cyryptocurrency (Source: Getty)

When it comes to cryptocurrency, seemingly everyone’s got something to say. Whether it’s Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Tesla CEO Elon Musk - or even rapper 50 Cent - cryptocurrency is the talk of the town.

Let’s take a look at what the big players in the tech and finance industry think of crypto.

Bill Gates

Despite being one of the most forward-thinking tech moguls of his generation, Gates is not a huge fan of cryptocurrency.

In February this year, Gates told the Wall Street Journal that “it’d be good to get rid of” the criminal activity often associated with cryptocurrency. Around the same time, he told CNBC he didn’t own any bitcoin, and had a neutral view.

“Bitcoin can go up and down just based on the mania or whatever the views are, and I don’t have a way of predicting how that will progress,” he said.

He’s also against the negative environmental effects that come with mining and transacting cryptocurrencies. And he’s not wrong: bitcoin mining reportedly generates 37 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every single year.

But, he’d be swayed if these processes were to switch to green electricity.

Verdict: Not into it now, but hasn’t ruled it out entirely.

Elon Musk

Where do we start with E-Musk?

The Tesla CEO has been named the honorary CEO of meme-crypto Dogecoin, he’s introduced Baby Dogecoin, tweeted out in support of a not-safe-for-work crypto called Cummies and played a pivotal role in the recent Bitcoin price dip.

It’s therefore no question that Musk - the same man who has lofty goals of building a city on Mars - supports cryptocurrency.

However, earlier this year he backflipped on his decision to allow Teslas to be purchased using bitcoins. In a statement to Twitter, he revealed he was “concerned” about the “rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions”, and suspended vehicle purchases with the coin.

But in the same vein, Musk said he still supported crypto, and would keep Tesla’s bitcoin “as soon as mining transitions to more sustainable energy”.

Verdict: Supports it, but enjoys stirring the pot.

Kevin O’Leary

US Shark Tank judge Kevin O’Leary knows a thing or two about tech - he started a consumer software company in the 90s and sold it for a whopping US$4.2 billion (AU$5.7 billion) to toy manufacturing company Mattel at the height of the dot-com bubble.

And this year, he revealed he would never, ever (read: ever) invest in Bitcoin.

“Bitcoin is a nothing-burger,” O’Leary said in a YouTube video in January. “A giant nothing-burger….Not every institution is willing to play ball with it.”

O’Leary went on to say he expected regulators to “come down hard” on Bitcoin and, well, he may not have been wrong.

In the last few months, Chinese authorities have cracked down on bitcoin mining in China, completely banning it in some parts of the country.

Verdict: It’s a no from O’Leary.

Scott Morrison

Even in his early days as Aussie PM, ScoMo showed support for cryptocurrencies.

In 2018, he called blockchain the “biggest change in our payment rail system...for decades and decades”, and he said it would “open up massive opportunities”.

He said the thing he “liked about it most” was that it would deliver some tough competition for the big banks, which he hoped would give customers more power.

Since then, not a whole lot has been done to help or hinder crypto. The Australian Government has largely steered clear of any major crackdowns, but the Australian Taxation Office wants everyone to know their crypto gains are not tax free.

Verdict: Supports, but not actively.

Josh Frydenberg

We probably won’t ever know if Australia’s Federal Treasurer invests in bitcoin, but we do know he’s watching it closely from a Government perspective.

“For all of the noise around cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, the reality is that they are not currently being widely used for everyday payments,” he said in a 2019 speech.

“However Bitcoin’s creation and that of the new Libra currency still in development by Facebook has been instigated through the development of blockchain technology...These are developments that regulators are watching closely.”

Verdict: Not sold, but keeping an eye on it.

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