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Bill Gates and Others on Bitcoin: 8 Significant Thoughts

Michael Hudson
27 August 2015

Often when we’re introduced to or learning about a new subject, we turn to those we consider ‘in-the-know’ for their opinion on the matter. Bitcoin is one such example and who better to look to than industry moguls. What have the likes of Bill Gates, Sir Richard Branson and Al Gore had to say about bitcoin? A fair amount as it turns out. These are a few of our

'A technological tour de force.' - Bill Gates, Microsoft Founder

Technologically speaking, Bitcoin is like nothing we’ve ever seen before. It’s a decentralised, peer-to-peer network that allows for cost-effective and instantaneous transaction settlement, irrespective of where in the world payer and payee are located.

Bitcoin eliminates the need for trust between the parties concerned as transactions are processed and verified by the nodes on the network. Most importantly, Bitcoin isn’t controlled by any central authority or government and can’t be impacted by political and economic policies. Ground-breaking technology, indeed.

'Bitcoin is a very sophisticated, globally distributed asset ledger.' - Richard Brown, IBM Executive Architect

Brown's simple explanation of Bitcoin highlights its core value proposition. The cryptography that enables the blockchain is highly sophisticated technology, using computational power and mathematical algorithms to process and verify the transactions. The fact that the blockchain is available for anyone to see sets a level of transparency not available in traditional systems. This transparency allows for tracking and auditing of asset movement and ownership verification.

‘Personal computers in 1975, the Internet in 1993, and I believe, Bitcoin in 2014.’ - Marc Andreessen, Entrepreneur

As with many technological advancements that promise to disrupt processes or preferences, the introductory stage is rife with scepticism. Remember when personal computers hit the scene? Or when the Internet came about? Few were convinced of the seismic impact the innovations would have on our lives, and adoption paths were slow to grow. But grow they did, and we're seeing the same acceleration for bitcoin as more consumers and merchants alike see the advantages of using bitcoin in addition to traditional payment systems.

Bitcoin may be the TCP/IP of money.’ - Paul Bucheit, Creator of Gmail

Bitcoin is a protocol. The money protocol of the Internet. Prior to the introduction of Bitcoin, a fundamental piece of the Internet puzzle was missing. While protocols existed for the application of emails and browsing none catered for the movement of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin fills this gap and allows money to be transferred across the Internet, without the need for external parties or authorities being involved.  

‘Put a little money in Bitcoin, come back in a few years, and it’s going to be worth a lot.’ - Michael Novogratz, Fortress Investment Co-CIO  

These sentiments are echoed, albeit with a word of caution, by Sir Richard Branson.

‘For people who can afford to invest a little in bitcoins, it’s worth looking into.’ - Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group

Investing in bitcoin isn’t for everyone. It’s still a highly volatile commodity, and not everyone can afford (or will want to) accept the high-risk involved. That said, we believe in a diversified approach to investment, which includes an element of allocation to a high-risk, high-reward asset. Bitcoin is reaching a turning point, slowly making its way towards a more stable value and with that comes great potential to investment returns.

‘If it becomes 10% as popular as gold, you can make 120 times your money.’ - Bill Miller, Legg Mason Portfolio Manager

Parallels are often drawn between gold and bitcoin. In fact, we wrote an ebook comparing their similarities. Both have a limited supply and are used as a store of value.

If we consider a gold market cap at a conservative £4.3 trillion, a 10% penetration gives us a bitcoin cap of £430 billion. Playing out the scenario where all 21 million bitcoin are in circulation, we’re looking at a per bitcoin value of a rounded £20,000. Given a current buy price hovering around the £150 mark, this delivers in excess of 12,000% increase on your initial investment. That’s pretty good going for a little bitcoin, wouldn’t you say?

*Note: These calculations are rudimentary at best as the total value of gold isn’t a documented certainty and bitcoin values are speculative without all influences factored in. 

‘I'm a big fan of Bitcoin... Regulation of money supply need to be depoliticised.’ - Al Gore, Former US Vice President and winner of Nobel Prize

When a political figure states that the regulation of money supply needs to be separated from the precise structure he promotes, that’s a bold move. The fact is that government use money and its policies to affect economic movements. Economic movements, which in most instances, are not beneficial to the end users at large. Bitcoin is the first instance of a currency that can’t be controlled by government constructs. And in doing so, opens the financial market to the millions of individuals who are unbanked under the current traditional system. It’s a liberating force, empowering individuals to take financial control into their own hands, without the permission of their government and central authority.

What are some of your favourite bitcoin quotes? Share with us in the comments below. 

Photo credit: Galería de ► Bee, like bees! <3

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