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Cryptocurrencies and NFTs depend on ‘greater fool theory’, says Bill Gates

Callum Jones, US Business Correspondent - June 15 2022, The Times

Bill Gates has argued that cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens are underpinned by “greater fool theory”.

The billionaire said the rapid and volatile rise of such digital assets, which has since given way to a steep rout, was wholly based on one investor being willing to pay more than another.

He said he was not involved in the space despite mounting curiosity and fluctuating demand over recent years.

“Obviously expensive digital images of monkeys are going to improve the world immensely,” Gates told a conference in Berkeley, California, sarcastically referring to the Bored Ape Yacht Club collection of NFTs, which are unique digital items that can be traded online. “That’s so incredible.”

It comes amid warnings of a “crypto winter” as the world’s leading cryptocurrencies come under pressure from a sustained sell-off. Bitcoin, which has lost 60 per cent of its value since hitting a record high in November, fell by a further 9.1 per cent to $20,271.20 today.

The long-term prospects of NFTs and other digital assets became the subject of feverish speculation as the likes of bitcoin rallied in recent years, but their rout has sparked fresh scrutiny. Proponents argue that cryptocurrencies are the future of global finance.

“I’m used to asset classes where, like a farm, they have output, or a company, where they make products,” Gates said during an event hosted by TechCrunch on Tuesday. “If you have an asset class that’s 100 per cent based on sort of greater fool theory that somebody’s going to pay more for it than I do, and where it has at its heart this anonymity that you avoid taxation, or any sort of government rules about kidnapping fees or things . . . I’m not involved in that. I’m not long or short any of those things.”

Gates, 66, co-founded Microsoft and is one of the world’s wealthiest people, with a personal fortune of some $121 billion, according to Forbes. He left the tech giant’s board in 2020.

His criticism of cryptocurrencies is aligned with that of his close friend Warren Buffett, the stockpicker, who has repeatedly questioned the intrinsic value of bitcoin when it does not produce anything. “It’s got a magic to it,” he told Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting this year, “and people have attached magic to lots of things.”

Investment Synergy - and controversially Elon Musk has been sued for $258 billion for allegedly running a pyramid scheme to support Dogecoin, a cryptocurrency ..... is this all a version of ´the emperors new clothing ´ ?!

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