Bitcoin seems to be earning the respect and admiration of institutional investors, and those who once criticized it are singing a different tune.
The latest person to take a different view on bitcoin is Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and the fourth-richest person on the planet with an estimated net worth of $133 billion.
I am not short bitcoin
In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, the billionaire said that he has a neutral view on bitcoin after he was asked by the host about his views on BTC in relation to climate change and the enormous amount of energy required to mine new units of the digital asset.
“I don’t own Bitcoin. I am not short bitcoin … so I have taken a neutral view,” said the former Microsoft chief.
"I don't own #Bitcoin. I'm not short Bitcoin," says @BillGates. "I do think moving money into a more digital form and getting transaction costs down, that's something the Gates Foundation does in developing countries." pic.twitter.com/DDe5X196ax
— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) February 18, 2021
The billionaire, who has dedicated his time and resources to philanthropy through the Gates Foundation, rather preferred to speak about moving money into digital form and lowering transaction costs.
“I do think that moving money into a more digital form and getting transaction costs down, that’s something the Gates Foundation does in developing countries,” said Gates.
Unlike bitcoin and its cousins that facilitate anonymous transactions, the billionaire said that the transactions the foundation deals with are reversible and there is total visibility of activities taking place.
“So it’s not about tax avoidance or illegal activity,” said Gates.
No longer a bitcoin basher
In relation to price, Gates said “Bitcoin can go up and down just based on the mania or whatever the views are. I don’t have a way of predicting how that will progress.”
In May 2018, Gates, famed investor Warren Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger took turns to bash bitcoin when they spoke on CNBC.
Gates said that bitcoin’s value comes from the Greater Fool’s theory. However, he said that blockchain is a promising technology that can be used in the payments industry.
At that same panel, Buffett called bitcoin rat poison and Munger said it is “stupid and immoral.”
Changing views on bitcoin
A number of leading executives who previously took a swipe at bitcoin have either changed their thoughts or at least remained neutral.
Jamie Dimon, the CEO of Wall Street titan JPMorgan called bitcoin a fraud and went as far as saying “someone is going to get killed.”
JPMorgan recently explained that it will offer bitcoin trading if there is sufficient demand for it.