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Bill Gates Warns Bitcoin Investors, ‘If You Have Less Money Than Elon, You Should Probably Watch Out’


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Microsoft Corp. Co-Founder Bill Gates shared his skeptical views on Bitcoin, distinguishing himself from other tech and celebrity figures who have embraced the cryptocurrency. Gates expressed concern over the volatile nature of Bitcoin, especially how its value could be significantly influenced by social media activity, notably mentioning Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk’s posts on X as an example of factors that can sway cryptocurrency prices.

In 2021, Tesla invested $1.5 billion in Bitcoin, causing its price to rise. Tesla sold 10% of its holdings in March 2021 for over $250 million when Bitcoin exceeded $60,000. Despite a 20% drop in Tesla’s stock, the company maintained a significant Bitcoin portfolio. In June 2022, during a market low, Tesla sold about 75% of its holdings to increase cash reserves. This move coincided with Bitcoin’s price plummeting below $20,000. Bitcoin’s value surged by nearly 150% in 2023, leading to speculation about potential missed profits for Tesla, estimated at around $500 million. Coindesk reports that as of 2024, Tesla holds over $387 million worth of Bitcoin.

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In a recently resurfaced YouTube video, Gates emphasized the risks associated with Bitcoin’s volatility, particularly for people who might not have substantial financial resources. “Elon has tons of money, and he’s very sophisticated, so I don’t worry that his Bitcoin will randomly go up or down,” Gates said. “If you have less money than Elon, you should probably watch out.”

This statement underscores Gates’s apprehension toward investing in cryptocurrencies by those who cannot afford significant losses.

The discussion also covered the broader implications and challenges of cryptocurrency, including the concerns related to the lack of regulation and the potential for misuse. Gates highlighted the decentralized nature of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and their potential to facilitate anonymous and irreversible transactions. These features, according to Gates, pose risks not only to financial stability but also in terms of enabling illicit activities.

However, Gates acknowledged the potential benefits of digital currencies, especially when transparency and regulation are involved. He pointed to the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in promoting digital currency initiatives that enable transparent transactions. Such efforts, Gates noted, have proven crucial in efficiently disbursing funds to people in need, particularly in poorer countries, during the pandemic.

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Gates invests in a broad range of sectors through his personal and foundation portfolios. His investment strategy emphasizes companies with strong fundamentals and growth potential, and he holds significant stakes in technology, finance and consumer goods.

His portfolio in the third quarter of 2023 showcased diverse investments in technology giants like Nvidia Corp., which is central to the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution because of its graphic processing units (GPUs) and traditional sectors with solid growth prospects such as Waste Management Inc. and Caterpillar Inc.. Waste Management, for instance, reported a revenue increase in its third quarter of 2023, emphasizing steady growth in essential services​​. Meanwhile, Caterpillar, a leader in heavy machinery, also reported significant revenue growth, showcasing Gates’s interest in innovative technologies and foundational industries​​.

The strategic moves in Gates’s portfolio reflect a balanced approach to investing, combining high-growth potential sectors like AI with stable, essential services. This blend illustrates his broader investment philosophy: a mix of seeking cutting-edge innovation and supporting well-established companies with proven track records of success.

Gates’s investment strategy offers a valuable lesson for individual investors: diversification is key, particularly in startups and companies at the forefront of technology and sustainability. This approach highlights the potential benefits of investing in sectors that not only promise financial returns but also contribute to technological advancements and environmental progress.

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