Is bitcoin bad for humanity? These are the words used by Pat Gelsinger, the CEO of business software giant VMware. In a recent interview, Gelsinger had some rather negative things to say about the mother of all crypto, and he doesn’t think it’s going to take finance to a good place.
Gelsinger Says Bitcoin Is Heading in the Wrong Direction
Some of the big problems with many of today’s tech products, he claims, are purely ethical. He comments:
You can’t have company business models that are fundamentally prying on people’s personal data and the only way for them to deliver financial returns is to become more invasive of humanity.
To be fair, Gelsinger’s complains should likely be directed more towards Libra, the Facebook cryptocurrency. Facebook is a company that’s been embroiled in scandal for some time. The Cambridge Analytica affair to strike the tech world in 2018 left many people reeling, and trust in the social media conglomerate fell to all-time lows.
As it turned out, Facebook had been selling people’s private data to third parties for advertising purposes. The idea that one’s private information – i.e. their birthdate, their location, etc. – is that vulnerable to outside snoopers is a little scary, though despite the potential concerns that are floating around about Libra and Facebook’s crypto plans, Gelsinger seems to be pointing the finger at bitcoin.
Maybe Gelsinger is looking for attention. After all, VMware is about to host its annual San Francisco conference, so maybe he thinks putting down an asset that’s hot right now will bring him and his company some attention. Who knows? Bitcoin has been trapped in a state of light volatility over these past few weeks, but it’s still doing miles better than where it was in 2018 and has been on the rise since last April.
He further states:
The customers of my products need to be GDPR compliant, and while some may say I may not be a company that’s monetizing personal data, both the customers of my customers are.
His specific complaints regarding bitcoin are that it is often used for illicit activity, and that it contributes to the ongoing climate crisis thanks to the amount of energy it uses. He mentions:
It takes the energy of a home, half-a-home a day, to do a single entry into a bitcoin ledger. It’s climate intolerant, it is so extreme. It is a bad design.
Too Much Electricity Use
Bitcoin requires several servers, computers and cooling machines to extract new coins. Still, Gelsinger’s comments aren’t likely to fly with everyone, considering there are several people that see bitcoin as “digital gold.” He concludes with:
We don’t get to be absent from the policy and social debates. We have to be an active participant in them in shaping technology to be good.