6 Oct 2014

Blockchain Technology: Bill Gates Believes It Solves What Apple Pay Makes Worse

IHB: Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft is one of the few tech titans who fully comprehend the possibilities that blockchain technology has to offer. Even though he expressed some apprehension towards bitcoin’s reputation, it is clear that Bill Gates believes bitcoin technology has the potential to help bank the unbanked.
This interview comes on the heels of Apple, a life-long competitor of Microsoft, announcing the launch of Apple Pay – a virtual payment platform compatible with the iPhone 6. Apple pay makes it easier to pay friends and merchants by organizing your wallet digitally. Not only did Apple recently have an iCloud security breach, which doesn’t bode well for financial security, but the bigger issue with Apple Pay is that it does nothing to reduce the cost of sending funds between two parties.
The advantage goes to bitcoin here, the high fee problem due to middlemen is something the block chain inherently solves.
Andreas Antonopoulos, a well-known and passionate Bitcoin technologist, recently made a very true statement in this regard. “The transaction is between you, the merchant and your bank. ...Add Apple and that’s two parties too many.”

Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker recently interviewed Gates, via “Street Smart”, about the costs associated with moving money from place to place. After a few minutes of discussing “banking the unbanked”, Schatzker says “it makes me think, believe it or not, of Bitcoin.” He goes on to ask Gates if he is a “believer” and Gates responds saying “well, Bitcoin is exciting me because it shows how cheap it can be (to transfer money)…the Bitcoin technology is key, you could add to it, or build another similar technology.”

Bill Gates joins Paul Brody, Vice President of Mobile & Internet of Things at IBM in understanding that block chain technology can solve more than just monetary issues. Mr. Brody recently spoke about how block chain technology can solve many problems (security, storage, transaction processing) companies face when trying to deploy devices on the cloud. IBM recently launched their own initiative, called Adept to create open source code for developing with the block chain.
There are several other projects pertaining to the block chain and its future utility. Ethereum is building a technology similar to Bitcoin by creating a block chain programmable by its own coding language, Ethereum. “Ether” is the unit of account for the block chain and raised $18 Million in its recent offering.
The world’s richest man obviously sees potential in bitcoin and its underlying block chain technology. On May 6, 2013, FoxBusiness Television quoted Gates as saying he believed Bitcoin was a “tour de force” – meaning an exceptional achievement. Who knows, he might be flashing back to the days when he was single handedly building the personal computing industry by changing the way people think about computers, eventually turning Microsoft into a $230 Billion dollar company.
In the end, the smartest people in the room always seem to accept change and enhance the disruptive innovations by challenging societies’ norms.


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