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Big quote: It's no secret that Bill Gates is not a fan of cryptocurrencies or NFTs, but just in case his feelings weren't clear enough, he recently denounced them as an asset class "100% based on greater fool theory"—the idea that people can make money through the purchase of overvalued assets when others are willing to pay a higher price later.
Gates made his comments at an event on climate change hosted by TechCrunch in Berkeley, California. "Obviously, expensive digital images of monkeys are going to improve the world immensely," Gates said, referring to the popular and expensive Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs and the many other similar, simian-based images for sale.
Gates echoed the statements of fellow billionaire and crypto/NFT-hater Warren Buffett in saying he prefers investments with tangible outputs, such as farms and companies that make products. Berkshire Hathaway CEO/Chairman Buffett recently said he would pay $25 billion for a 1% interest in all the farmland in the United States but wouldn't pay $25 for all the Bitcoin in the world.
The former Microsoft boss once again highlighted the anonymity associated with cryptocurrency that makes it appealing to criminals. During a Reddit AMA in 2018, he said crypto is being used to buy drugs, making it a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way. He also warned in 2021 that regular investors should be more aware of crypto's volatile price and shouldn't invest based on tweets from the likes of Elon Musk.
"My general thought would be that if you have less money than Elon, you should probably watch out," Gates said. Given that BTC has fallen from a high of almost $64,000 last year to just over $20,000 today, it seems those who invested heavily back then might be wishing they'd heeded his advice.
It's often been said that crypto-love among billionaires is a generational thing. Fifty-year-old Elon Musk is a huge fan who constantly tweets about the likes of Dogecoin, while 66-year-old Gates is in the opposite camp. Ninety-one-year-old Buffett hates it, and his 98-year-old business partner Charlie Munger called it a "venereal disease" that should be banned.
Gates was in the news last week after calling for the creation of a $1 billion per year GERM team to deal with the next pandemic. He also criticized the US government's handling of the pandemic, claiming the country's death rate would have been minimal if it had scaled up its ability to perform diagnostics and enforce quarantines.