Bill Gates isn’t a fan of tech’s popular buzzwords: cryptocurrency and hyperloop. The Microsoft co-founder hosted his sixth Reddit AMA on Tuesday, and didn’t hold back on his answers.
Gates doesn’t like what most people find appealing about cryptocurrencies: anonymity.
“The Governments ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing,” he wrote, “I think the speculative wave around ICOs and crypto currencies is super risky for those who go long.”
When u/dikkepiemel pointed out that hard cash is still used for fentanyl and “god knows what else,” Gates responded: “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.”
Gates also threw some shade at a concept from fellow tech mogul Elon Musk, whose plans for a “Hyperloop” through the East Coast drew some ridicule. Musk tweeted in July, “Just received verbal govt approval for The Boring Company to build an underground NY-Phil-Balt-DC Hyperloop. NY-DC in 29 mins.”
In Gates’ AMA, u/123lift asked if the Gates Foundation had any plans to tackle inadequate public transportation, since “it seems overlooked.”
“I think electric cars and autonomous vehicles will be great things … I am not sure the hyperloop concept makes sense,” Gates said, “Making it safe is hard.”
It’s a not-so-subtle jab at the Tesla CEO, whose Boring Company just got a preliminary permit to start exploratory digging in DC.
Gates also took a stance on one of the most divisive debates for coders: tabs or spaces?
“When I code I use tabs because you want the columns to line up,” he responded, “For some word documents I use tabs. You want things to adjust when you go back and edit them and tabs help.”
Silicon Valley’s Richard Hendricks would agree.
He also shared his take on beer: “I am not a big beer drinker. When I end up at something like a baseball game I drink light beer to get with the vibe of all other beer drinkers. Sorry to disappoint real beer drinkers.”
Not all of Gates’ answers were so passive aggressive, though. He talked about when he finally considered himself successful. His markers for success includes “many domains.”
“I was a success in getting good grades and test scores in high school. I was a success at writing good code by my early 20s … Now I am working on being a good father.”
His other goals include eradicating polio and malaria, and reducing climate change.
Gates also wants to see more innovation in reducing healthcare costs, improving education, and addressing poverty. “The benefit of getting these things right would be amazing,” he said, “With all the talk about inequity it is interesting that we still work on vertical areas like health, education, housing, food, etc.. as separate things rather than having a full view of the challenges someone faces.”
He wants the same innovation seen in tech applied to humanity’s greater issues. When asked if he missed his time at Microsoft, Gates said he missed the “certain urgency to everything we were doing to stay ahead that meant the speed of activity was very high.”
“Now I work on things like malaria where I wish there was more competition to solve the problems and things moved faster,” he said.
Gates also answered the burning question that we’ve all thought of at least once:
“Why is this question so popular?” Gates quipped, “Hello to all the Gills out there. You probably run into someone with the same name less than I do. I don’t think my name has affected me much. My formal name is William.”
Then he threw in a shout out to some well-known spoonerism:
If Bill Gates calls you “very cool” does it count as a marker of success?