The last time Bill Gates spoke out on Bitcoin, he simply called it a “technological tour-de-force.” After speaking at SIBOS 2014, the annual SWIFT banking conference which took place in Boston this year, Gates took the time to praise Bitcoin further.
Bill Gates: Reducing transaction fees
Bill Gates commented on the reduced cost of international money transfers using Bitcoin, stating that “Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be.”
As it stands, wire transfer services such as Western Union cost users up to 30% in fees. The co-founder of technology giant Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has a keen interest in international money transfers due to the work of his foundation, which has recently donated $50 million to the worldwide fight against Ebola.
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Bill Gates seemed excited by the possibility of using Bitcoin to move money around the world cheaply, but he did also have some reservations.
The issue of privacy
Although early adopters of Bitcoin praise the anonymity of transactions, Gates does not give it any great importance, in fact preferring an adapted version of Bitcoin which would allow customers to be identified.
“The customers aren’t trying to be anonymous, you know, they’re willing to be known, so Bitcoin technology is key, so you could add to it or build a similar technology, where there’s enough attribution that people feel comfortable that this is nothing to do with terrorism or any kind of money laundering.”
Here Gates alludes to the fact that the anonymity of Bitcoin has so far led to associations with the shadier site of the internet, up to and including criminal practices.
Gates’ comments came as Jon Matonis, executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation, claimed that “Bitcoin will become the new gold.”
If Matonis is to be proved right then he would do well to address the concerns of Gates and many others in providing for the identification of Bitcoin customers, whether that be through an adaptation of Bitcoin itself or the development of a new cryptocurrency.