Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×
Bitcoin Microsoft The Almighty Buck

Bill Gates: Bitcoin Is 'Better Than Currency' 130

An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from Entrepreneur.com: After long remaining mostly mum on Bitcoin, Microsoft's legendary co-founder Bill Gates has spoken. At the Sibos 2014 financial-services industry conference in Boston, America's richest man just threw his weight behind the controversial cryptocash. Well, at least as a low-cost payments solution. ... "Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be," he told Erik Schatzker during a Bloomberg TV's Smart Street show interview yesterday (video). "Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don't have to be physically in the same place and, of course, for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient." ... While he seems relatively bullish on how inexpensive transacting in Bitcoin can be, Gates isn't singing the praises of its anonymity. The billionaire alluded in an oblique, somewhat rambling fashion to some of the more nefarious anonymous uses associated with Bitcoin.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Bill Gates: Bitcoin Is 'Better Than Currency'

Comments Filter:
  • by jd ( 1658 ) <imipak@yaHORSEhoo.com minus herbivore> on Saturday October 04, 2014 @03:57PM (#48064273) Homepage Journal

    Then clearly there are problems.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 04, 2014 @04:03PM (#48064311)

      Yeah, I can see a huge rush of cognitive dissonance as the bitcoin crowd tries to get their collective heads around the idea of agreeing with Bill Gates

      • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Saturday October 04, 2014 @04:06PM (#48064331)

        This might explain the recent crash in value.

      • by PRMan ( 959735 )
        No, it's fine, but could he please buy 1,000,000 bitcoins, so the price can go back up for a while...
      • Yeah, I can see a huge rush of cognitive dissonance as the bitcoin crowd tries to get their collective heads around the idea of agreeing with Bill Gates

        Outside of Slashdot there is no hatred towards Bill Gates or Microsoft. Hate how you took your unix market away in the 90's all you want, but he knows how to compete and make money and yes Bill Gates may not be a brilliant software engineer but he knows his stuff in terms of business.

        Bill Gates likes bitcoin and even Apple's NFC payments because in 3rd world countries getting payments and transactions are unreachable with transactions costs compared to countries like the US. Explain how BOA would want to d

        • WE hate him for NON-petty reasons. He set back computing by DECADES, almost missed the internet, but yeah, hes a fucking genius. Bill Gates was smart and lucky, which he used to be a complete and utter toolbag. No one should laud him, ever.
          • I hated him too in my youth.

            Now since I am older I see things differently. You can think Intel for the crappy intel 8086 instruction sets and lack of things like VM support, multitasking, and protected memory, which forced MS to make crappy operating systems and compatible with that crappy system mixed with techno luddities who were forced to switch to computers and didn't know better created the mess of the past.

            If the original IBM pc was a motorolla 68000 things would be different.

            Keep in mind superior op

            • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

              Now since I am older I see things differently. You can think Intel for the crappy intel 8086 instruction sets and lack of things like VM support, multitasking, and protected memory, which forced MS to make crappy operating systems and compatible with that crappy system mixed with techno luddities who were forced to switch to computers and didn't know better created the mess of the past.

              Actually, the Intel processors weren't the problem, it was that everything used DOS.

              The 386 was just fine and dandy and Win

      • Wish I could joint, but only have tails.
    • by Burz ( 138833 )

      Then clearly there are problems.

      You say that in jest. But Gates did help invent the high-consumption culture we have today, or at least he brought it to computing. For much of his reign at Microsoft, the average lifespan of a PC was 3 years.

      Bitcoin appears to have its own 'consumerist innovation' built-in, in that it takes escalating amounts of computing power (and therefore, resources) to 'mine' the currency and validate its transactions (which aren't even anonymous or proof against establishment meddling as many have claimed).

      • OK, mining adds an incentive into solving the puzzle to get enough units of the currency available. BUT OTOH, why should most people invest in mining, particularly when it is not worth its cost anymore? A currency is acquired through labor (or selling stuff) and is exchanged for stuff (or paying for labor). People don't need to generate new bitcoin units, just to use them.

        • by itzly ( 3699663 )
          Ordinary people shouldn't invest in mining. It's only profitable for a few big places, with the lowest $/Hash ratio.
      • The average lifespan of early PCs has nothing to do with Bill Gates or Microsoft and all to do with the early giant steps in the advancements of technology.

        • The average lifespan of early PCs has nothing to do with Bill Gates or Microsoft and all to do with the early giant steps in the advancements of technology.

          No but it sure as hell gave him a ton of money and hundreds of billions over the past few decades for MS to invest in new products.

          Richest companies are ones where people need you and keep coming back over and over again such as Gillette, Chevron, McDonalds, etc. MS of today might be different as businesses and working professionals still need MS office and Windows to get the job done but not like in the past during the reign of Gates where it kept going obsolete over and over and he got a cut for each upgr

      • Bitcoin being pseudo-anonymous allows the user to select which wallets they want anonymous and which ones they want attached to their identity.

        2 tools in bitcoin : stealth addresses and coinjoin allow for this.

        These tools when used with Tor and a marketplace like Openbazaar or Darkmarket insure that you are practically as anomynous as you can get.

    • Indeed. I smell a rat too.

  • Currency or cash ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alexhs ( 877055 ) on Saturday October 04, 2014 @04:05PM (#48064327) Homepage Journal

    Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don't have to be physically in the same place

    Apparently Bill Gates can't distinguish currency from cash...

    • Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don't have to be physically in the same place

      Apparently Bill Gates can't distinguish currency from cash...

      Or a credit card, which, I believe, has many "not physically in the same place" uses.

  • Let him put his money where his mouth is. Are all of his cash holdings in BitCoin?

  • I'm sure those who lost their Bitcoin in the Mt. Gox mess back in February may feel a little differently.
    • They put there cash under somebody else's mattress and are complaining they were robbed?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by BasilBrush ( 643681 )

        They put there cash under somebody else's mattress and are complaining they were robbed?

        Hey, they were libertarians. They didn't believe they needed their bank to be government regulated.

        • by codebonobo ( 2762819 ) on Saturday October 04, 2014 @07:24PM (#48065295)
          Most anarchists and libertarians understood bitcoin is p2p and both warned and laughed at those who stored their bitcoins in Mt-Gox. Mt-Gox was mainly used by either the less technical savvy, or daytrade investor types who kept their money in an exchange because they wanted to profit from volatility. Many of us still use exchanges but immediately withdraw the coins upon purchase and store them in mult-sig cold storage.
          • Meanwhile the rest of us laugh at not just the MTGOX losers but the lot of you taken in by the pyramid scam with a hidden founder at the top of the pyramid. If you are so savvy and an anarchist who likes the label libertarian, then how come you haven't noticed that each bitcoin contains a tracking trail that makes it of less use to anarchists or libertarians than real cash where it's very difficult to track? It's almost as if it was invented to provide a panopticon into financial transactions.
            • Bitcoin is an open source protocol, with over 60% of the source code already re-written since created; Satoshi's identity is unnecessary. Being pseudo-anonymous simply means the end user ultimately decides which wallets he wants public and completely transparent and which they want private. Stealth addresses and coinjoin used with TOR allow us to be as anonymous as it gets.

              P.s... I never suggested I "like" the label libertarian and please look up the definition of a pyramid scheme.

            • by itzly ( 3699663 )
              Real cash is easy to track. Most bills don't travel very far between each time they are taken from an ATM and deposited back at a bank. At both of those points, you can link the serial number of the bill to the identity of the person. Also, you have to be physically present to exchange cash, which opens you up to even more surveillance options, as well as limiting where you can practically spend your cash.
          • The revisionism within the Bitcoin community about Mt. Gox is astounding. The truth is that the Bitcoin "establishment", as it was, was generally pro-Mt. Gox, and indeed some parts of the system continued to promote Mt. Gox long after the company went insolvent. . Probably the most notorious example was Blockchain.info [archive.org] (Archive.org has a gap of archives between December and July before anyone comments, but the fact I was able to make this tweet should confirm this image was current back in March [twitter.com].)

            The sca

            • Yes, some anarchists and libertarians did use Mt-gox and were fooled by Mark. - Roger Ver is a prominent example - https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

              Despite this, just do a search for warning posts from many members on sites like bitcointalk to see how many people were warning others about Mt-Gox well into advance. The amount of warnings posts and time stretched on for a couple of years because Mt Gox had a history of horrible customer service and being hacked.

              Bitcoin has a very diverse group of users w

              • "its popular to label most Bitcoin users as libertarian/anarchists, but nothing could be further from the truth. At most you have a third of users leaning that direction"

                What a strange statement.
                You might need to examine your understanding of the phrase "nothing could be further from the truth".

                Also, why do you assert this fraction is "rapidly decreasing"? Online surveys somewhere? A gut feeling?

                • To understand the context of my statement, you need to understand the origins of crypto-currencies and the cipher-punks who created this technology. Investors and other users came into the Bitcoin ecosystem later. I do admit my statement is a bit of an exaggeration because there are, per capita, higher percentages of anarchists involved in bitcoin than the general population but these numbers have dropped from ~90% down to around ~30 %. This a a rough estimate I measure from speaking with thousands of bitco
                  • by garote ( 682822 )

                    Hmm... So are cipher-punks anarchists? Or did BitCoin attract that astounding percentage of anarchists later for some reason?

                    • Yes, most cipher/cypher-punks fall into some spectrum of anarchism and more specifically are typically Crypto-anarchists. Here is a list of prominent ones https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] if you wanted to individually research their politics.

                      Anyone, any organization, or politics is free to use and benefit from crypto-currencies, in this sense Bitcoin is politically nuetral . Both the designers politics and the intrinsic design structure remains anarchistic in nature, however. There is no majority consens

  • by SpankiMonki ( 3493987 ) on Saturday October 04, 2014 @04:19PM (#48064417)

    Here's what Gates actually said:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyAufA2lWn0

    I read his comment as: "the [pseudo] anonymity of virtual currency technology is what's holding it back". And since there's little context provided in the FA or the vid, I'm going to go ahead and assume Gates' comments referred to virtual currencies in general - not just bitcoin.

  • Now that virtual currencies are getting some traction, Gates waqnts to jump in so he can get credit for being an early backer.

  • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Saturday October 04, 2014 @05:06PM (#48064635)

    ... are not always a positive correlation.

    Screw Bill.

    What does DiCaprio think?

    No, wait ...

    Paris Hilton.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Does he has a degree in economics, specializing in money and banking ?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No he doesn't. And that's probably a good reason to listen to his opinions. :)

      Or do you really want to hear from an accredited economist such as Alan Greenspan or Ben Bernanke, the guys who couldn't see the dot-com or housing bubbles?

    • No, but he made, what, some $100 billion dollars in personal fortune through his business? I'd say that makes him more qualified to judge this than your average economist.

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Saturday October 04, 2014 @05:36PM (#48064805)
    FTFA:

    financial transactions will eventually “be digital, universal and almost free.”

    Not so much an endorsement of cryptocurrency as an opinion that physical currency is obsolete. Until security gets a whole lot better I'll continue to carry small amounts of cash when I go out. Of course Gates probably hasn't used any cash in decades.

    • by codebonobo ( 2762819 ) on Saturday October 04, 2014 @07:09PM (#48065225)
      If you understand bitcoin how to secure your private keys you will realize that it is much more secure than cash. If my cell phone was stolen I would still have my bitcoins and it would be practically impossible for thieves to use them unlike your wallet filled with cash. I have almost no risk of hackers or thieves stealing my offline multisig wallet either.

      Bitcoin's problem right now is mainly the steep learning curve but more hardware wallets are beginning to roll out so users can be more secure without being a security expert.

      These have already hit the market:

      http://www.bitcointrezor.com/ [bitcointrezor.com] http://www.hardbit.cn/ [hardbit.cn] http://btchip.com/ [btchip.com]

      This is being released this month-

      https://mycelium.com/entropy [mycelium.com]

      And this will shortly follow along with other products- https://mycelium.com/bitcoinca... [mycelium.com]

      • I'd think it far too risky to store more than a little spending money on something so insecure as a cellphone. With bitcoin, it falls to the user to make sure their coins are secure against accident or theft - just like with cash. Lots of people lost their coins to dead hard drives because they didn't make proper backups.

        • Correct, but backups are not needed with deterministic wallets, the backup is the initial seed. Users should either just store spending cash or use a hotwallet solution on their cell phone to protect against users who don't copy down their determinist seed on wallet creation or get a virus.
      • You do realize that your "if" leaves out about 99% of the population, of course. I know how secure my cash is. I can store money safely long-term by putting it into a bank account. If my credit card is misused, I'm not responsible. You try getting the average person to (a) understand how to keep a wallet safely (safe from losing it, and safe from having the bitcoin stolen), and (b) why they should go through that to handle their money.

        • Your statements were equally valid for either the internet or credit cards when they first became available. I agree with you bitcoin isn't ready for the mainstream consumer; this will change quicker than most people realize. Already, I prefer paying with Bitcoin and can execute transactions quicker and less expensive than with my credit card.

          Once Hardware wallets are refined, prepare for a future where everyone carries one on their keychain.

          • I remember people knowing how to use credit cards. Any problems were unrelated to actually using one. The internet was usable with a pretty basic understanding. That brought a lot of problems with it, but hardly fatal ones. Bitcoin provides an easy way for a careless person to lose all their money quickly, unlike previous financial systems.

            How do you execute Bitcoin purchases faster and less expensively than a credit card? My credit card purchases take a few seconds, taking a few percent of the mone

      • These links were very informative and helpful. Your at +5 already so have a Virtual High Five...:)
    • FTFA:

      financial transactions will eventually “be digital, universal and almost free.”

      Not so much an endorsement of cryptocurrency as an opinion that physical currency is obsolete. Until security gets a whole lot better I'll continue to carry small amounts of cash when I go out. Of course Gates probably hasn't used any cash in decades.

      Physical currency will become obsolete when either digital currency can't be tracked or having physical currency is considered a crime, which is coming....

      As it is, there have been recent cases in the southern US where people have been stopped on the highway by police, found to have more than $200 in cash, and have had it confiscated on suspicion of being used for the drug trade without any trial, evidence, or judicial process. So, if you plan on buying a used car or boat, don't bring cash with you or you

  • by cyberjock1980 ( 1131059 ) on Saturday October 04, 2014 @05:53PM (#48064893)

    There's an old Chinese proverb that reads "A wise man will always take his own advice!"

    So Bill Gates has owns how many millons/billions of dollars in Bitcoins?

  • Bitcoin's value as a payment system isn't really novel. Tommorow if the governement chose to excercise it's authority, it could make bitcoin obsolete by making all currency digital and providing free transaction services via the credit/debit/postal systems. Credit cards would still exist, but debit cards would die, and the credit card industry would be collapse to a fraction of what it is today. Economy would also be better off because business would retain an extra 2-3%, which wouldn't goto Wall Street.

    • We fully expect that governments will eventually fork our code and create a competing "govcoin" that is both popular and useful. This coin would likely be an inflationary proof or stake or inflationary DPoS variety. Bitcoin will retain certain key differences which will make it useful being that it has a fixed money supply and is a Proof of Work currency that is sovereign outside of governments. Even if every country made Bitcoin illegal(unlikely), Bitcoin has a bright future fulfilling an important role fo
  • ...I've seen what his work is like - not all that interested in his opinions...
  • Ah, I have a simple question. How can you access you wealth in bitcoin if we have, for an example, a strong EMP, knocking most of the worlds computers, including yours. I think I'll stick with a known comodity, silver or gold. Seriously, where would bitcoin be without computers?

When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision.

Working...