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Bitcoin Privacy Security The Almighty Buck Technology

Bill Gates: Cryptocurrency Is 'Rare Technology That Has Caused Deaths In a Fairly Direct Way' (cnbc.com) 161

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CNBC: During a recent "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit, the Microsoft co-founder said that the main feature of cryptocurrencies is the anonymity they provide to buyers, and Gates thinks that can actually be harmful. "The government's ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing," he wrote. "Right now, cryptocurrencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs, so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way." When a Reddit user pointed out that plain cash can also be used for illicit activities, Gates said that crypto stands out because it can be easier to use. "Yes -- anonymous cash is used for these kinds of things, but you have to be physically present to transfer it, which makes things like kidnapping payments more difficult," he wrote. Gates also warned that the wave of speculation surrounding cryptocurrencies is "super risky for those who go long."
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Bill Gates: Cryptocurrency Is 'Rare Technology That Has Caused Deaths In a Fairly Direct Way'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @05:51PM (#56196823)
    The most deadly currency I can think of is Oil.
    • by ffkom ( 3519199 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @06:55PM (#56197107)
      Yes, and gold. And diamonds. Some stones are called "blood diamonds" for good reason.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yes, and gold. And diamonds. Some stones are called "blood diamonds" for good reason.

        At least oil and gold can be useful. Killing for diamonds? Fucking hell...

        • Diamonds can be useful too, it's just that most of their value (or perceived value, at least) is in their being a status symbol.
          • Diamonds can be useful too

            ...and the industry has evntually found a way to produce what it needs artificially at a much lower price than the crazy market.

            it's just that most of their value (or perceived value, at least) is in their being a status symbol.

            ...and for some weird reasons, most of the people have been conditionned to see the status symbol only if that peculiar piece of diamond happens to have been dug out of the ground, despite having all the same atoms in the same position as what the industry grows in labs.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            Most of the industrial diamonds are artificial though. Much easier and cheaper than trying to find and dig them up.

            The only people who care about getting their diamonds out of the ground instead of out of a factory are people looking for an expensive status symbol.

  • Well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @05:51PM (#56196829)

    Windows 10 is pretty convincing proof that anonymity is frowned upon.

  • hypocrite (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    So tax evasion is ok as long as he's the one doing it.

    • Someday, when you are old enough, you will pay taxes. Will you take your standard $6,350 deduction, or will you skip it to evade paying taxes?
  • great (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @05:53PM (#56196845)

    President Orange Julius once remarked that Bill Gates should help find a way to 'shut off the internet' to stop bad guys. If he's saying something about cryptocurrencies, our dumbass in chief will think it's gospel.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If we use the concept of: "something that could be used for bad is definitely used for bad", then we definitely should shut down Microsoft. Heck, the US military, the North Korea military, both likely use Microsoft software.

  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @05:55PM (#56196863) Journal

    Just because Bill Gates repeats what's been said for years, it's more relevant?

    Trying to finger crypto-currency as "more evil than cash" because it's "easier to use" seems to be cherry-picking scenarios.

    How many times is cash used for illicit transactions because it's so straightforward? You can't do a thing with a crypto-currency unless you're tech savvy enough to set up some kind of wallet to receive the funds, and then you have to deal with a buyer who is equally savvy to pay you with them. And right now, you have long waits for most transactions to complete if you're using a well established e-currency like bitcoin. So that's another obstacle in some situations.

    I mean, technically, he's not wrong. I'm sure people have died because of drugs that were bought and sold using cryptocoins. I just don't think the tech itself is ever anything but neutral. Again, the problem lies in the motivations of the sellers and buyers - not the payment method.

    • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @06:26PM (#56196949)
      it's that it's harder to trace. In theory if you can keep your name from being associated with your wallet it's impossible to trace. But it doesn't need to be impossible. A locked car is harder to steal, not impossible to steal. Similarly you just need to make it hard enough to trace money laundering that the relevant authorities time/money runs out.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        That's what you think today... Tomorrow, it could be the case the NSA could connect 75% of bitcoin transactions to individuals thanks to some unknown hack.

        The truth is that if you commit a big enough crime, with or without bitcoin, that someone will still be searching for you in 20 years... You will be found, probably in a very unexpected way.

        The difference between cash and bitcoin is that bitcoin leaves a trace that just cannot be deleted. And you do not exactly know what this trace contains.

        • as a criminal your goal is to do crime big enough to live well but small enough that the authorities moves onto easier targets.
          • "as a criminal your goal is to do crime big enough to live well but small enough that the authorities moves onto easier targets."

            Or really big enough that you can bribe governments and still have spares for you.

            It might be the case that Gates knows a thing or two about that.

      • it's that it's harder to trace. In theory if you can keep your name from being associated with your wallet it's impossible to trace. But it doesn't need to be impossible. A locked car is harder to steal, not impossible to steal.

        A car with doors welded shut would be close to impossible to steal.
        But eventually, for a car to be more useful than a giant paper weight, you need to be able to enter it and drive it.
        so instead you settle for merely locking door, which makes stealing the car deginitely possible.

        Using crypto-wallet exclusively for shifting numbers between them would be pretty much impossible to trace.
        But eventually, for crypto-currencies to be more useful that a cryptographer play toay, you need to be able to order good del

        • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

          A car with doors welded shut would be close to impossible to steal.

          You've clearly never stolen a vehicle. A broken window, or entry with a crowbar through the trunk/back seat would be simple enough.

    • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @06:28PM (#56196957) Homepage Journal

      Trying to finger crypto-currency as "more evil than cash" because it's "easier to use" seems to be cherry-picking scenarios.

      It is, and worse, it's a factually incorrect claim.

      How to buy drugs with crypto:
      1) decide what crypto you want to spend, find a wallet program, and set it up (sometimes easy, sometimes ridiculously hard)
      2) acquire said crypto somehow -buy it, mine it, steal it, etc.
      3) figure out how to configure Tor, then how to find dark web sites, then find the dark web site run by a drug dealer you want to buy from
      4a) if you're lucky, drug dealer already accepts the crypto you have
      4b) if not, find an exchange, create another traceable account, wait for transactions to complete, etc
      5) trade crypto for drugs (and I guess give out a physical address for shipping?)
      6) pray that your drugs don't get stopped, the government isn't monitoring the blockchain, that you don't get busted on your way to pick them up, or that they even shipped in the first place (you didn't really trust a drug dealer, did you?)

      How to buy drugs with cash:
      1) get cash (many untraceable methods here, YMMV)
      2) find drug dealer (try the 'poor' side of town)
      3) buy drugs

      • You dare to contradict the likes of BillyG???? Yon heathen . . .
      • Yeah, because he is obviously talking about small time consumer buyers, not large scale distributors buying directly from drug manufacturing cartels.

        Or do you really live in such a shithole neighborhood that you can go to the "poor side of town" and pick up 200 kilos of coke, 15 kilos of good weed, and maybe 60 kilos of H with a couple kilos of Fentanyl to cut it with?

      • but will buy online. A drug dealer could be a cop, or a junkie looking for someone to mug. An anonymous online transaction is safe, and if you're reasonable well to do in a blue state (or very well to do in a red one) it's essentially legal. You won't even got a slap on the wrist.

        There are _lots_ of folks looking for pain meds because our healthcare system is so fucked up. Some of them need the meds to manage cronic pain, some of them need them because they have treatable conditions they can't afford to
      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        Yeah, you completely left out the money laundering process on the cash side. That's the area that law enforcement has gotten pretty good at tracking. Not so much with crypto, and that's the entire point.

    • I'm sure people have died because of drugs that were bought and sold using cryptocoins.

      Cryptocoins can also be used to buy Snu Snu!

      Bill Gates: "Death! Death by Snu Snu!"

    • "more evil than cash"

      1. that's a pretty high bar... cf Timothy 6:10. Actually, how does one manage to be more evil than the root of all evil?
      2. oh that's bloody great, now the Church of Satan has to come out with yet another crypto-coin. Thanks.
    • Just because Bill Gates repeats what's been said for years, it's more relevant?

      Trying to finger crypto-currency as "more evil than cash" because it's "easier to use" seems to be cherry-picking scenarios.

      How many times is cash used for illicit transactions because it's so straightforward? You can't do a thing with a crypto-currency unless you're tech savvy enough to set up some kind of wallet to receive the funds, and then you have to deal with a buyer who is equally savvy to pay you with them. And right now, you have long waits for most transactions to complete if you're using a well established e-currency like bitcoin. So that's another obstacle in some situations.

      I mean, technically, he's not wrong. I'm sure people have died because of drugs that were bought and sold using cryptocoins. I just don't think the tech itself is ever anything but neutral. Again, the problem lies in the motivations of the sellers and buyers - not the payment method.

      Cash requires a physical transfer to exchange the asset, that makes it really tough to use for criminal online transactions.

      Cryptocurrency is different, if offers the ability to transfer of value to another party with complete anonymity (if you conceal your wallet ownership) and trust (ie, I don't have to worry that the bitcoin you sent me will be reversed by the credit card company).

      That makes it uniquely suitable for crime, drug transactions, hits, extortion, money laundering, etc.

    • He was obviously a "good" businessman (as in made a lot of money and dealt with a lot of competitors) and he had some technical chops early on, but what makes Gates an expert on much *now*?

      I'm not even sure he has more than just a slightly better-informed opinion on many things anymore.

    • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @08:09PM (#56197499)
      No, it's because Bill Gates is ignorant of the obvious. If he can claim "cryptocurrencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs, so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way," then it is also true that Windows is used to make those purchases and is also causing deaths in a fairly direct way.

      Fair is fair, take the blame on yourself, BillG.
    • by Tailhook ( 98486 )

      How many times is cash used for illicit transactions .... some kind of wallet to receive the funds

      Making sense isn't necessary because the establishment media will not question Gates, and Reddit doesn't count. This is just the blather that comes out of his mouth as he thinks up rationalizations for the imposition of his will. The establishment mentality. The thought that something, somewhere might happen beyond scrutiny is intolerable so whatever BS must be promulgated to stop it is the gospel of the day.

    • Of course . . . after all, wasn't he that super-sharp dood who gobbled up PostScript when offered the chance to buy it? Oopsy, sorry, he was the dood who turned it down! But wasn't he the dood who was supposed to have gotten a perfect score on his SATs? Oopsy, he got a perfect score on the math portion, but out of 1600 his score was actually 1400. But wasn't he the dood who created DOS? Oopsy, supposedly another dood created it, yet somehow that dood who created and sold/gave it to Gates, mysteriously
    • You said: "I mean, technically, he's not wrong. I'm sure people have died because of drugs that were bought and sold using cryptocoins"

      Of course, Gates' main pad is in Washington state, where two former governors, Gary Locke and Christine Gregoire, got a whole bunch of people killed, raped, assaulted, robbed, etc., etc., when they signed an Interstate Compact bringing 3 out 4 ex-convicts to the Puget Sound region, where may again offended, and that's an indisputable fact, and last I read, there were ov
    • He thinks crypto currencies have anonymity. I'm surprised he made this comment being so ignorant in the subject..

      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        I'm no expert on the topic, but didn't we just have an article yesterday where Woz got scammed out of $70k worth? How is that not anonymous for the scammer?

        • his credit card was stolen, after that all bets are off. the blockchain holds the records of who has the bitcoins, so it's possible to identify the person who received the coins.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      "more evil than cash"

      He didn't say that though. That phrase does not appear in any of his posts, nor anything like it.

      He was just saying that it's unusual for technology to lead directly to deaths, by which I think he meant computer technology because obviously military tech is pretty common.

      Gates has done a lot wrong in his lifetime, but that doesn't excuse attributing things to him that he didn't say or believe. Like the classic 640k meme.

  • Cash can be laundered through many paradises. Did he ever heard of Panama ? Malta ? Delaware ? (Non exhaustive list)
    Many recent documentaries showed how money can be transferred through these countries and their rotten lawers companies without living town. I guess that for people like him, it's easy to forget because he gates (ooops, sorry for this one ...) everything done for him.

    • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

      The premise that being Bitcoin rich doesn't require laundering a lot of cash is pretty weak too.

      Bitcoin gives you a legitimate transaction to pay taxes on (selling it), but if you raise flags, they'll track back your transactions and see them tumbled af and investigate, or see them outright shady.

      Of you want to spend the cash, it needs to be laundered.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Russian interference.

  • Lest anyone forgets $1B went missing. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    Oh and you wanna talk about baby killers? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    How about that opoid crisis? 20 million painkillers to a town of 3,000. ALL CASH. https://www.npr.org/sections/t... [npr.org]

    Also...the anonymity isn't crypto's main feature. Just look at the most recent $10 Billion lawsuit. It turns out all those rich list addresses were owned by exchanges and things like that. Cash is far more anonymous than crypto. Why else would drug de

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is this some new definition for "direct"?

    • Yeah, it means "indirect". It's like "literal" meaning "figurative". At this rate, words will have no meaning at all sometime between January 2025 and September 2031.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Money and every single other form of wealth have produced massive deaths slavery and innocent's deaths, Bitcoin is that exposes wealth and money as the fraud it is, anyone can make it's own currency based in anything and with enough commercial connections can make it usable, we can see currency do not have to be backed by real resources and even debt can be traded as a regular commodity.

  • by js290 ( 697670 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @06:53PM (#56197105)
    All Wars Are Bankers' Wars https://youtu.be/5hfEBupAeo4 [youtu.be]
  • So *Lord* Bill Gates (a globalist neo-feudalist) is against anything that's rooted in libertarian-ism and self-determination. I'm shocked I tell you, SHOCKED!!

  • Someone used Windows with Microsoft Windows with Microsoft Outlook to send a message to a killer with promise of money and a target. Someone has had installed Windows on Submarine equipped with god knows what. Now suddenly Messiah is concerned with crypto currency.
  • Here is the guy raping your privacy, destroying the morals of your society, telling you that nobodies in the corner are the bigger threat. We are in the midst of an evolutionary speciation event. Those with courage, intelligence, and wisdom splitting from those selected for blind, all-consuming greed (plutocrats) and their cowing, mindless, rootless slaves.
  • by ffkom ( 3519199 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @07:07PM (#56197167)
    I am seriously frustrated that some non-informative blabber from grandpa Gates is published on Slashdot, while even exciting new IT research results like the one linked here [slashdot.org] do not qualify for publication.

    Does Bill sponsor Slashdot for citing him so often?
  • billg is right about this, but most of the harm is only to Americans and Canadians who have shortened their lifespans due to said pharmaceuticals, and to a lesser extent those who died as the result of oil and coal exploration, extraction, processing, and shipping to provide the electricity to generate them.

    On a global scale, these "epidemics" are mostly reduced.

    • No, he's entirely wrong, because the normal cash used for such things make the cryptocurrency used a rounding error. the problems existed long before cryptocurrency and will continue with or without it.

      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        No, he's entirely wrong, because the normal cash used for such things make the cryptocurrency used a rounding error. the problems existed long before cryptocurrency and will continue with or without it.

        You say that as if, it's not a matter of time for all "normal" transactions to be done via crypto so that the money doesn't need to be laundered. No need to meet in some dark alley with assault rifles, and no risk of tracking the funds. I'm not a crypto guru, so please tell me why that's not accurate?

  • Stuid lie (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @07:12PM (#56197199) Homepage

    When you buy a gun and kill someone, no one says "OH MY GOD, US DOLLARS KILLED HIM."

    That is not "Direct" harm. That is not even secondary harm. That is very, very, very indirect harm. Tertiary at best.

    The shooter and the gun 'directly' caused the harm. The secondary cause might be the drug sales or whatever made you mad enough to kill him.

    The stuff you used to buy the weapon? That's at best tertiary. Not a direct cause.

    • Thanks for some logic here --- and to remind everyone about the false claim that Forbes magazine and others keep repeating, that DOS wasn't a copy from Gary Kildall's original CP/M program - - either Novell or some guys from there bought the rights to Dr.DOS after Gary's death and sued Microsoft, which settled out of court with them to the tune of $1 billion. Really doubt if they would pay them off that much if it wasn't factual.
      • The people who bought the rights to DR DOS (Caldera, the company that eventually became the hated SCO) didn't sue over copyright infringement but unfair competition. Given Microsoft's behavior during the late 1980s and early 1990s, yeah, you bet they had to settle for a pretty large sum. You might want to read Judge Jackson's finding of fact to see how far they took it, even managing to intimidate IBM into effectively dropping OS/2 as an ongoing mass market product.

        I used CP/M. And I used early versions

      • When I first got DR DOS, it was on a hand-labeled floppy. Someone had written it as 'Dr. DOS.' It took a long time before I met someone who asked why I was pronouncing it as 'Doctor Dos.'

    • to buy a gun illegally, and as a result of that people who normally couldn't get guns (like criminals, violent spouses and the severely mentally ill) do, then yeah, you probably do have a case to make against them.
  • Microsoft creates a cryptocurrency called BillBucks. This new cryptocurrency will solve all the outstanding problems and introduce a new feature: the blue creen of debt.
  • rare? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CSMoran ( 1577071 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @07:27PM (#56197289) Journal

    it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way.

    Bill, this is gunpowder. Gunpowder, Bill.

  • 1980's rich person from a wealthy family has issues with new money https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
  • And how many deaths has Windows called?

    How many BSODs causing ACTUAL DEATHS?!?

  • Or, he's just bashing a currency medium that the elite are having difficulty wrapping their tentacles around.

  • The stupid are unlikely to get directly involved in BTC, it's just too complicated. Easier to buy Oxy off the local contact.
  • Arrogant comment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cloud.pt ( 3412475 ) on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @08:20PM (#56197551)

    I didn't expect anything else: the guy who most benefits from the current finantial system bashing a trending, actually revolutionary. It is quite shameful to see him resort to such a low blow. It's like saying: "hey, 20 people died making this humongous undersea tunnel", without acknowledging the bridge prevents 200 deaths a year out of whatever the fuck they did to cross the straight before.

    Seriously, this guy has been the top richest dude, in the world, for 18 out of the last 23 years. He has - wait scratch that -
      him and his next 10 generations have absolutely no say in the matter of "what is fairer than what we have now?". Fairness is seriously not something at play here.

    I assume he and everybody else know Microsoft has surely caused deaths in a fairly direct way as much as any cryptocurrency, and just like crypto, none of them were part of the plan. Obviously not as direct as, say Smith and Wesson, Heckler and Koch, Lockheed Martin or any so-called "defense"-related company, but even those have their own sorry excuses for liability.

    But screw "fairly" - you know what causes human death in a very fucking objectively direct way? Other humans. And maybe old age and disease and natural disaster. Now go get an actually decent argument to bash crypto, you know, like common people have to do when they want to make a point instead of using that odd "I am so popular I can say anything" falacy.

  • by Deliveranc3 ( 629997 ) <deliverance AT level4 DOT org> on Tuesday February 27, 2018 @08:41PM (#56197687) Journal
    "Bitcoin is easy!"
  • Pretty much every technology killed some people in some way. Electricity caused many deaths, and the wheel, and fire. Even medicine kills on a regular basis.
    A company making helicopters even use this argument in their communication. They proudly say that helicopters saved more lives than they took. They don't deny that helicopters kill, they just say that they make up for it by saving others during search-and-rescue missions.

    The argument works in reverse. One could argue that the atomic bomb saved lives by

  • Ya.. I'm old.

    • by Ash-Fox ( 726320 )

      Could you link the original video, article or conference where he specifically said that?

  • I want to point out that bitcoin is easily traceable. Once the transaction is converted to cash, you can find out the entire chain. It isn't designed to be anonymous, and it's not.
  • I rode my motorcycle to lunch today. Now *there* is a technology that has caused a lot of deaths in a fairly direct way.

    Ban motorcycles now!!!1!!!!!1!!3!!! Who will think of the childrens?!?!?!555!!??!

  • As if M$ hasn't caused deaths. Almost anything causes deaths. Death by sheer desperation is one of the cruelest ways to go.

    Oh non existing deity! Why do we still have to reboot Windows 10 almost daily to have patches installed? Why so many meaningless updates on Skype since M$ took over? And always when I actually want to use the bloody thing!

  • doesnt it bother anyone that tons of energy get wasted to calculate this crap ?

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