Bill Gates: Cryptocurrencies Have ‘Caused Deaths In A Fairly Direct Way’

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Murder on the Bitcoin express? Microsoft co-founder Gates wades into cryptocurrency debate

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has major reservations about cryptocurrencies, and accused the technology of killing people in a direct way.

Gates’ views became public after he took part in a Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ session on Tuesday, the sixth time he has carried out such a session.

Over the years Bill Gates has used the huge personal fortune he gained as founder and CEO of Microsoft, on an ambitious philanthropic drive. Last year he made one of his largest donations of 64 million Microsoft shares, worth $4.6 billion (£3.6bn), to charity.

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Dangerous Tech

Despite his charity work, Gates remains plugged into the technology world. Last year he admitted that has “switched” to an Android smartphone, after Microsoft abandoned its mobile ambitions.

Gates used his Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ session this week to field questions about various subjects including quantum computing, and how automation will affect society, and what tech advances he’s most looking forward to over the next decade.

But then Redditer Askur1337 posed the following question: “What’s your opinion on Crypto Currencies?”

“The main feature of crypto currencies is their anonymity,” Gates replied. “I don’t think this is a good thing.”

“The government’s ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing,” Gates wrote. “Right now crypto currencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs (on the dark web) so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way. I think the speculative wave around ICOs and crypto currencies is super risky for those who go long.”

Fentanyl by the way is a powerful opioid that has been linked to a spike in deaths in the United States’ ongoing opioid epidemic.

Crypto Concern

Gates is not the only person concerned about cryptocurrencies, which has been exploited extensively in the past for illicit uses.

Last year for example researchers discovered that a script for mining cryptocurrency had been maliciously placed on popular sites across the web.

The British Bankers Association (BBA) has previously warned that cryptocurrencies could be used to help fund terrorism.

Indeed, soon after the Paris attacks in 2015, the European Union (EU) discussed a crackdown on cryptocurrencies to try and prevent anonymous transactions being used to fund terrorist attacks.

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