Bill Gates on Bitcoin: Bitcoin Alone is not Good Enough

bill gates bitcoinBill Gates has done a great deal of work throughout the developing world in the field of vaccinations, disease eradication, and funding clean water projects. He has a long history of many years of investment and research into poverty in the Third World, and how things can be improved. Now, he has published his 3rd-annual Gates Annual Letter, which is a sort of State-of-the-Third-World address on these endeavors. It seems coincidental that it is released at the same time as the President of the United States’ State of the Union Address.

What the Third World Needs According to Bill Gates

Inside, he posits three issues that are most dire in the plight of impoverished countries worldwide. One, the idea of getting Africa to feed itself, which would help eradicate famine that has killed millions of people annually. Two, the need to drop infant mortality rates and other diseases through better vaccination and medicine. And the third is the ability of these cultures to integrate new growth technologies like mobile or digital banking, in order to build a sustained economy and a middle class of their own.

In the promotion for his Annual Letter, Bill and Melinda Gates spoke to Backchannel about his views and what he sees going forward as far as helpful innovations. He was asked specifically about Bitcoin, and this is what he had to say:

Are you excited about the potential of Bitcoin in systems like these as a way to keep fees low and have the system work robustly in the global sense?

“There’s a lot that Bitcoin or variants can do to make moving money between countries easier and getting fees down pretty dramatically. But Bitcoin won’t be the dominant system. When you talk about a domestic economy, [you must have] the idea of attributed transactions, where if you sent it to the wrong person you could actually get the transaction reversed. [And a traditional system] doesn’t have this huge fluctuation where the value of your account is going up and down by a factor of two. We need things that draw on the revolution of Bitcoin, but Bitcoin alone is not good enough.”

 Also read: Bill Gates: Bitcoin Technology is Key

An interesting take on Bitcoin, as this does highlight what many would consider a flaw in the protocol. Or is it a million-BTC opportunity? Could a person, inventor, engineer, company innovate a way to reverse a Bitcoin transaction gone bad, and make the irreversible BTC transfer reversible? Bitcoin is an incredible system, but it is not perfect, and such issues may indeed be holding it back from it’s true potential as a global currency. It’s better than the primitive and highly corruptible fiat currency system, but one of us can improve it? Where some see flaws, others see opportunity for growth. Or maybe the “core developers” can adjust the technology for this capability down the road.

This is not the first time Gates has spoken about Bitcoin in detail. We reported last year on the interview done by Eric Schatzker of Bloomberg News

The need to move money from place to place – the cost to do so: the overhead, as you put it – makes me think, believe it or not, of Bitcoin. Because, some people have said: “Hey, you know? Bitcoin is the answer to those problems!”

“Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be. Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t have to be physically in the same place and of course for large transactions currency can get pretty inconvenient. The customers we’re talking about aren’t trying to be anonymous. You know they’re willing to be known, so the Bitcoin technology is key, and you could add to it. Or you could build a similar technology where there’s enough attribution that people feel comfortable this is nothing to do with terrorism or any money laundering.”

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Is the irreversibility of BTC transactions holding Bitcoin back?  Should this be fixed, and by whom? Share above and comment below.