Bill Gates has finally let the world know what he thinks of Bitcoin during an interview at the Sibos 2014 financial services conference in Boston.
Previously, Gates stoked the public’s curiosity on his stance on Bitcoin earlier this year during a Reddit Ask Me Anything session where he said digital money would catch on in the developing world — but was largely referring to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-backed digital money transfer and microfinancing services.
But now, Gates has removed all doubt about his position on Bitcoin.
“Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be. 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,” he said to Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker during an interview that aired on Bloomberg TV.
While to many Bitcoin is associated with the drugs and vice bazaar Silk Road, Gates makes it clear that he believes Bitcoin has a mainstream and legitimate future.
“The customers we’re talking about aren’t trying to be anonymous,” he continued. “You know they’re willing to be known so the Bitcoin technology is key and you could add to it or you could build a similar technology where there’s enough attribution that people feel comfortable this is nothing to do with terrorism or any type of money laundering.”
Gates’ comments come at a time when even die hard proponents of the cryptocurrency say it’s going through its toughest time yet. The currency’s price still hovers around the $300 range, having crashed from a peak of nearly $1000 earlier this year. This lagging price is largely seen as a product of the general skepticism over market stability and future mining prospects; the latter of the two stems from the shutdown of one of the biggest mining companies in the game by the US Federal Trade Commission for providing “practically useless” equipment.