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Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates says he will not invest in Bitcoin because it's "not a great climate thing" and says he prefers to back companies that make products.
The American business magnate entered Clubhouse for the first time on Wednesday night where he talked about the cryptocurrency which has proved a popular investment with other billionaires such as SpaceX and Tesla mogul Elon Musk.
Clubhouse is a new invite-only conversation app, which has already hosted several talks with high-profile celebrities.
The Microsoft co-founder, promoting his new book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” was interviewed by journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, where he spoke about his label as a "Bitcoin skeptic".
“Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind. So it’s not like a great climate thing,” Gates said. “If it’s green electricity and it’s not crowding out other uses, eventually maybe that’s OK.
"I don’t see the topics as deeply related, even though you might label me a Bitcoin skeptic — that is, I haven’t chosen to invest money.
"I buy malaria vaccines. I buy measles vaccines. I invest in companies that make products.
"It’s not a, ‘Hey, somebody’s going to buy this for more money than I paid for it.’
"But if other people find their fortune that way, I applaud them.”
He added: "There are other ways of doing digital currency that our foundation is involved with which are done in local currency, the transactions are not secret they are reversible – you can't use it for ransom and things like that – and yet the transaction fees are so low that it's empowering the poorest.
"We work with India to do their digital currency, we're working with all of the countries in Africa so I'm a huge fan, the biggest investor in digital currency so financial services are available to everyone on the planet."
Gates has been sceptical about Bitcoin in public before, telling CNBC in 2018 that he would "short" it if he could.
In another interview this week he discussed Tesla founder Elon Musk's enthusiasm for the virtual currency.
"My general thought would be that if you have less money than Elon, you should probably watch out," he told Bloomberg.
"Elon has tonnes of money and he's very sophisticated, so I don't worry that his Bitcoin will sort of randomly go up or down."
- Elon Musk
- Bill Gates
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