Billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has had his say on bitcoin and other digital assets, and it turns out he’s not a huge fan.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Thursday, Gates was asked what technology innovation the world could live without, to which he responded - in a roundabout way - cryptocurrency.
“The way cryptocurrency works today allows for certain criminal activities. It’d be good to get rid of that,” he said.
However, he followed up by saying bio weapons would actually be a better answer.
“I probably should have said bio weapons. That’s a really bad thing. We shouldn’t have technology for that. Bio weapons is the right answer.”
Gates has spoken about bioterrorism as a major threat before, revealing in a YouTube interview with science vlogger Derek Muller that it’s likely going to be the next disaster facing humanity.
He’d also said previously: “I am concerned about biological tools that could be used by a bioterrorist.”
But in another interview with CNBC on Thursday, Gates was asked about cryptocurrency in the context of climate change, because mining digital assets takes up an enormous amount of energy.
However, he said his stance on bitcoin was “neutral”.
“I don’t own bitcoin, I’m not short bitcoin...I’ve taken a neutral view,” he said.
“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.”
The billionaire told CNBC the Gates Foundation was working on “moving money into a more digital form and getting transaction costs down” in developing countries, but for practical reasons
“But there we do it so you can reverse the transactions, so you can have total visibility of who’s doing what… it’s not about tax avoidance or illegal activity.”
But while Bitcoin is continuing to increase in value, he’s not the only one who isn’t convinced by it.
US Shark Tank judge Kevin O’Leary weighed in on the hype earlier this year, saying the cryptocurrency is just a “giant nothing-burger”.
O’Leary said he expects regulators to “come down hard” on Bitcoin in the future, and investors should prefer to see a major loss of capital.
“It will be brutal. And, I’m just saying you have to get ready for it.”