Bill Gates: Cryptocurrency is ‘super risky’ over the long-term

Bill Gates
Adam Galica | CNBC

Bill Gates is not a fan of cryptocurrency.

During a recent "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit, the Microsoft co-founder said that the main feature of cryptocurrencies is the anonymity they provide to buyers, and Gates thinks that can actually be harmful.

"The government's ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing," he wrote. "Right now, cryptocurrencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs, so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way."

When a Reddit user pointed out that plain cash can also be used for illicit activities, Gates said that crypto stands out because it can be easier to use. "Yes — anonymous cash is used for these kinds of things, but you have to be physically present to transfer it, which makes things like kidnapping payments more difficult," he wrote.

Gates also warned that the wave of speculation surrounding cryptocurrencies is "super risky for those who go long."

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Gates isn't the first big name to speak out against the speculative assets. His close friend Warren Buffett also predicts a disappointing outcome. "In terms of cryptocurrencies, generally, I can say with almost certainty that they will come to a bad ending," the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway said.

"When it happens or how or anything else, I don't know," he added in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box" from Omaha, Nebraska. "If I could buy a five-year put on every one of the cryptocurrencies, I'd be glad to do it, but I would never short a dime's worth."

Legendary investor Jack Bogle agrees. "Avoid bitcoin like the plague. Did I make myself clear?" said the Vanguard founder in response to an audience question at a Council on Foreign Relations event.

Other investors are less hostile to the idea. Billionaire Mark Cuban says that, once you've built up an emergency fund, it's OK to put up to 10 percent of your savings in high-risk ventures such as bitcoin and ethereum "if you're a true adventurer." However, you've just "got to pretend you've already lost your money," he told Vanity Fair, adding that it's like throwing "the Hail Mary."

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