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Bill Gates Fails to Recognise the Value in NFTs

Bill Gates has publicly criticized NFTs as being ‘expensive digital images of monkeys’ that are not a valid form of investment.

Bill Gates, the misunderstood internet-advocate of the 1990s, has reversed roles to become the latest high-profile NFT cynic.

Gates’ averseness towards NFTs was showcased at the recent TechCrunch Sessions: Climate conference, where he alluded to the asset as ‘expensive digital images of monkeys’ that lack any qualities of a valid avenue of investment.

Bill Gates tells us what he really thinks of Bored Apes at #TCClimate:

— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) June 14, 2022

Gates went on to describe the NFT market as one which is dictated by speculation, wherein the ‘greater fool theory’ is the rationale behind a lot of purchases. Such theory refers to the idea that profit can be made by purchasing an already-overpriced asset, knowing that someone else (i.e. a ‘greater fool’) will buy it off you for even more. 

Although valid in the fact that many a blue-chip investor has ‘flipping’ at the forefront of their decisions, Gates’ criticisms are undeniably embedded with irony. Being a heavy advocate of computers and the internet throughout the 1990s, he-himself was often the one receiving ridicule from those who couldn’t comprehend the technology of tomorrow. Gates also took a dig at the ambiguous tax regulations of the space given the anonymity involved within it – which suggests that he must’ve forgotten about Microsoft’s relentless efforts to avoid paying billions of dollars worth of tax through transferring its profits to off-shore subsidiaries. 

In conclusion, six (or even seven) figure PFP monkeys are of course an easy target of ridicule. However, such assets represent a minute proportion of not only the entire amount of NFTs in existence, but also the full potential of blockchain technology as a whole.

Looking back at an interview which David Letterman conducted with Gates back in 1995, Gates’ recent sarcastic comment that “expensive digital images of monkeys are going to improve the world immensely” is not too dissimilar to Letterman’s ridicule of “flying toasters” that would appear on the screens of Windows 95 computers.


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