Cryptocurrencies Have “Caused Deaths in Fairly Direct Way,” Says Bill Gates

During a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session, Bill Gates shared thoughts on cryptocurrencies, implying that their existence has some dire consequences because of the anonymity they allow.

Bill Gates may no longer be chairman and CEO of Microsoft, but his words still hold sway in the technology world. What Gates has to say about cryptocurrencies will undoubtedly interest many people.

During an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, user Askur1337 wanted to know what Gates thought of cryptocurrencies, to which the tech billionaire responded:

“The main feature of crypto currencies is their anonymity. I don't think this is a good thing. The Governments [sic] ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing. Right now crypto currencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs 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.”

Certain users considered Gates’ response something that could potentially influence the overall cryptocurrency market. Although its total capitalization dropped slightly today, Microsoft founder’s words do not appear to have been the catalyst.

Gates may have sounded a bit dramatic, but he is right to observe that black markets could thrive on cryptocurrencies.

In the case of Bitcoin, intense global scrutiny has removed much of its anonymity and dented its appeal for criminals. One study, for example, has established that less than 1% of all Bitcoin transactions involve illegal activities.

However, Europol director Rob Wainwright noted in a recent tweet that other cryptocurrencies have taken the fancy of criminals.

Hackers, for example, hold Monero in high regard because of its unique mining algorithm which allows them to latch onto unsuspecting systems and transform them into mining rigs for their own profit.

Like it or not, however, this is the new reality we have to contend with, and the phenomenon is not going away anytime soon.

Whether cryptocurrencies really kill people is a matter of personal perspective, but they can certainly allow unsavory things to happen under the cloak of anonymity.