Feb 27, 2018

Bill Gates is not a fan of cryptocurrencies

Ina Fried, author of Login

Bill Gates. (Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Images))

Bill Gates sees cryptocurrency's main appeal as anonymity, which he doesn't see as a positive. Speaking in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session, Gates said it allows people to buy drugs and hurts the government's ability to collect taxes and crack down on terrorism.

Why it matters: Gates' frequent AMA chats let ordinary people ask questions and also let the Microsoft co-founder weigh in on topics ranging from global affairs to the mundane.

The Government's 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.
— Bill Gates

Nor is he big on Elon Musk's vision for high-speed transit. "I am not sure the hyperloop concept makes sense - making it safe is hard," he said.

Gates also revealed:

He can't wait for computers to understand what they read: "The most amazing thing will be when computers can read and understand the text like humans do. Today computers can do simple things like search for specific words but concepts like vacation or career or family are not 'understood.' "

He's not running for President: "I won't be running for President because I am super committed to the work Melinda and I are doing at the Foundation and outside the Foundation. I agree it is important to have a President who thinks long term about the US role in the world and the research to solve disease burdens and costs and to tackle climate change and improve education."

He's not a big beer drinker: "When I end up at something like a baseball game I drink light beer to get with the vibe of all the other beer drinkers. Sorry to disappoint real beer drinkers."

He plays tennis twice a week: "Allocating time is always tough. Tennis is a big hobby for me and I try and play twice a week (a bit more in the summer). I always try and read a few books every month and a bunch on vacation....I travel about 1/3 of the time for the Foundation which I enjoy.

Favorite celebrities: "Melinda (his wife) and Warren (Buffett) are my two favorites followed by Bono. Most celebrities I don't know very well. I do get to meet a lot of political leaders and Nelson Mandela was the most impressive ever. Jimmy Carter is also amazing.

Go deeper

George Floyd updates

Protesters gather north of Lafayette Square near the White House during a demonstration against racism and police brutality, in Washington, D.C. on Saturday evening. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have been rallying in cities across the U.S. and around the world to protest the killing of George Floyd. Huge crowds assembled in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago for full-day events on Saturday.

Why it matters: Twelve days of nationwide protest in the U.S. has built pressure for states to make changes on what kind of force law enforcement can use on civilians and prompted officials to review police conduct. A memorial service was held for Floyd in Raeford, North Carolina, near where he was born. Gov. Roy Cooper ordered all flags to fly at half-staff to honor him until sunset.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 6,889,889 — Total deaths: 399,642 — Total recoveries — 3,085,326Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 p.m. ET: 1,920,061 — Total deaths: 109,802 — Total recoveries: 500,849 — Total tested: 19,778,873Map.
  3. Public health: Why the pandemic is hitting minorities harder — Coronavirus curve rises in FloridaHow racism threatens the response to the pandemic Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight the virus.
  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model.
  5. Business: Budgets busted by coronavirus make it harder for cities to address inequality Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus.
  6. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.
Updated 5 hours ago - World

In photos: People around the world rally against racism

Despite a ban on large gatherings implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic, protesters rally against racism in front of the American Embassy in Paris on June 6. Photo: Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of people have continued to rally in cities across the world against racism and show their support this week for U.S. demonstrators protesting the death in police custody of George Floyd.

Why it matters: The tense situation in the U.S. has brought the discussion of racism and discrimination onto the global stage at a time when most of the world is consumed by the novel coronavirus.