By Mark Bergen Bloomberg
Billionaire Bill Gates dismissed cryptocurrency projects as indispensable tokens as counterfeits “based on the theory of bigger fools” at a climate conference on Tuesday, reviving past criticism of digital assets.
“Obviously, expensive digital images of monkeys will improve the world tremendously,” Gates said sarcastically as he spoke at an event in Berkeley, California, hosted by TechCrunch. He said it was neither long nor short of asset class.
Gates has criticized the cryptocurrency before, arguing with Elon Musk last year over whether bitcoin is too risky for retail investors and the environmental damage of coin mining. Speaking Tuesday as founder of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the climate-focused fund he set up in 2015, Gates noted the difficulty of recruiting Silicon Valley engineers to work in industries such as chemicals and steel that need more -low greenhouse gas emissions.
Bitcoin fell more than 15 percent on Monday and another 5.4 percent on Tuesday, as part of a broader cryptocurrency sell-off fueled by higher-than-expected US inflation and a halt to withdrawals from the Celsius credit platform. Popular NFT collections, including celebrity preferences Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), have also been hit hard.
Gates also defended the digital banking efforts he supports through his philanthropic foundations, which he described as “hundreds of times more efficient” than cryptocurrencies.
Michael Bloomberg, founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, is a supporter of Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
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