It goes without saying at this point that NFTs and cryptocurrency are rather polarizing topics. There are people who love them and defend them, online and offline, to an almost religious degree. There are also people who see them as little more than cash grabs and deride them at any opportunity.
It would seem that Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and tech billionaire, falls into the latter category. This comes as he made a recent appearance at an event hosted by TechCrunch and touched briefly on both NFTs and cryptos, holding back on neither.
Gates Speaks His Mind
According to Bill Gates, he does not hold any position on any cryptos or NFTs, nor does he invest in them. The reason for this is that he prefers investing in companies with ‘tangible’ output, be they farms or factories.
Speaking on NFTs, Gates said that they are “100 percent based on greater fool theory”. Simply speaking, this theory claims that any asset, no matter how intangible or worthless, can be a valuable one as long as you can find a ‘greater fool’ to buy it from you at a profit.
This is a common criticism levelled at NFTs; that they have no value and are a cash grab by those who create and sell them. Another criticism, which was brought up by Gates, was the anonymity of such digital assets and their potential for being used in crimes. Noting the possibility of tax fraud and use in activities like kidnapping, Gates said that he is neither long nor short on the market.
He also seemingly took a job at the Bored Ape Yacht Club, saying sarcastically that “Obviously, expensive digital images of monkeys are going to improve the world immensely.”
These remarks aside, this is not the first time that Bill Gates has taken a jab at the crypto market specifically. Back in 2021, he had commented on the volatility of the crypto market and its susceptibility to things like tweets from Elon Musk.
“I do think people get bought into these manias who may not have as much money to spare. My general thought would be that if you have less money than Elon, you should probably watch out,” he said at the time.
A Necessary Evil?
Interestingly, cryptocurrency had been the subject of these sorts of remarks for years. Everyone from Bill Gates to Warren Buffet to executives at JP Morgan had derided and dismissed them as a scam.
But ironically, many of the executives who dunked on cryptocurrency went on to apply it in some way in their business operations as it became more popular and profitable. Perhaps it is simply NFTs’ turn to be the subject of public ridicule before the tide turns?
We are already seeing many companies embrace NFTs and launch many collections and initiatives for different purposes, from Coachella to Instagram. If these collections end up being successful, public opinion about NFTs could change even among billionaires.