Software king backs Bitcoin

gates372Software king, Sir William Gates III, has thrown his support behind Bitcoin.

Gates told the Sibos 2014 financial-services industry conference in Boston that Bitcoin was better than cash for low cost payments.

When asked about Bitcoin’s potential to ease the cost of payment transactions for moving money from one place to another Gates said Bitcoin was exciting because it is cheap.

Talking to Erik Schatzker during a Bloomberg TV’s Smart Street show Gates said that Bitcoin was 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 thinks that financial transactions will eventually “be digital, universal and almost free.

But Gates is not happy about Bitcoin’s anonymity which he thinks opens it up to criminals.

“The customers we’re talking about aren’t trying to be anonymous,” he told Schatzker. “They’re willing to be known, so Bitcoin technology is key and you can add to it or you could build a similar technology where there’s enough attribution where people feel comfortable that this is nothing to do with terrorism or any type of money laundering.”

The last time Gates publicly commented on Bitcoin was last February, the day Bitcoin currency conversions debuted on Microsoft’s Bing search engine.  He avoided most questions on the subject but shifted the focus to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-backed  a mobile phone-based money transfer called Vodaphone M-pesa,and a microfinancing service in  Kenya.

Gates said that his organisation is “involved in digital money, but unlike Bitcoin it would not be anonymous digital money”. He went on to predict that “digital money will catch on in India and parts of Africa and help the poorest a lot” over the next five years.