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GitHub Reportedly Acquired By Microsoft

News reaching Ethereum World News indicate that there are plans by software giant Microsoft Inc. to acquire popular software repository platform, GitHub. Rumors have been in the air for quite some time now of the intentions by Microsoft to seal the deal with respect to buying GitHub this year.

Credible sources indicate that the deal could be announced as early as today, Monday June 4th. This act by the software giant would be a move described by many, as going back to the roots of how Microsoft started in the first place. Bill Gates and Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft with the aim of developing software products for personal computers to give hobbyists an avenue for seamlessly programming their own projects. The company has since grown to feature video game consoles (Xbox), consumer electronics, personal computers and cloud services (Microsoft Azure).

The current CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, has been actively involved in courting coders and initiating coding initiatives since taking the helm at the company in 2014. Last year, he was noted as saying the following during the company’s annual developers conference:

The opportunity for developers to have broad impact on all parts of society has never been greater. But with this opportunity comes enormous responsibility.

His words were meant to remind developers that there are unintended consequences of technology that can only be solved by the creators themselves. He was quick to refer to the classic novel, 1984, to further his argument with respect to responsibility in technology:

Orwell, in [the novel] 1984, described a society where technology was used to monitor and control and dictate, and Huxley [in Brave New World] talked about distracting ourselves without meaning or purpose. We don’t want that.

By acquiring GitHub, Microsoft will have access to over 27 Million software developers many of whom are not thrilled by the acquisition for it might hinder decentralization of code which is one of the chief reasons that the platform thrives.

Most, if not all, blockchain projects, use the platform to upload its code. This in turn means that any disgruntled blockchain coders might find an alternative to GitHub if the acquisition follows through.

Microsoft’s Corporate V.P of communication, Frank X. Shaw, was asked about the acquisition by TechCrunch to which he replied:

You know we don’t ever comment on this sort of rumor.

This means that we have to wait for official communications from both Microsoft and GitHub to confirm the acquisition.

[Photo source,]

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From the Internet to Crypto – How the World’s Richest Have Sized Things Up

Throughout history, the thoughts and perceptions of the masses have been shaped by leaders of politics, industry and entertainment.

The greatest minds of our time have often predicted and touted some of the most prolific innovations. Lended the support of these voices, these very innovations have shaped the way the world works.


A prime example would be the Internet. The technology revolutionized communication in the 1990s and led to a surge in investments in Internet-based companies.

What followed is now known as the dotcom bubble – a rapid rise in equity born out of speculative investing in these dotcom companies eventually led to a stock market crash, with many companies with millions of dollars of market capitalization ending up worthless.

However, a lot of companies managed to survive this period – especially Amazon, which is now the biggest Internet retailer in the world and the third most valuable public company globally.

Ironically, some of the greatest investors of our time missed the boat on Amazon and other tech companies – showing that even the most revered industry leaders can get it wrong from time to time.

It’s interesting to see how some of these thought leaders have gauged emerging technologies over the past 25 years. Four of the five richest men in the world have had diverging opinions, as we’ve seen with their predictions on the internet almost two decades ago.

In 1996, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote a now famous essay titled ‘Content is King’, where he outlined his prediction for what would make the internet a world-shaping invention. His opening line pretty much hit the nail on the head, in terms of how a lot of the Internet is monetized:

“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

Meanwhile world famous investor Warren Buffett was wary of investing in internet based companies in the 1990s – something he has since admitted he regrets.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had more faith than most – enough to quit his full time job and start his own Internet-based company. According to CNBC, Bezos saw the potential of the sector due to the massive growth in the space, as recalled in a speech at Princeton University in 2010:

“I came across the fact that Web usage was growing at 2,300 percent per year. I’d never seen or heard of anything that grew that fast, and the idea of building an online bookstore with millions of titles — something that simply couldn’t exist in the physical world — was very exciting to me.”

Crypto and blockchain

These contrasting views highlight the difference between industry revolutionaries over the years. This has also been the case with Bitcoin, blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies more recently. As the sector grows in prominence, the brightest minds have offered predictions, thoughts and appraisals of virtual currencies.

Some of it is positive, and some of it is negative. Nevertheless, we take a look at four of the five richest people in the world and their take on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. They’re ranked from richest downwards, as per Forbes’ prestigious list.

No.1: Jeff Bezos

2018 will go down as the year that Jeff Bezos became the first ever centi-billionaire. The founder, chairman and CEO of Amazon net worth is now over $100 bln, making him the wealthiest man in the world.

His company has gone from strength to strength over the years, and is now the world’s largest online shopping platform.

However, it’s almost impossible to find any comments made by Bezos directly talking about Bitcoin, cryptocurrency or blockchain technology.

The most we have is historical rumors that Amazon would start accepting Bitcoin as a payment option on its platform, which to this day has not happened.

There was further speculation when Amazon purchased three domain names that hinted a move towards the acceptance of cryptocurrency in October 2017.

Amazon Web Services partnered with R3 late in 2017 to provide one of the first ever distributed ledger technologies on the platform – the Corda project. Ironically, this was a week after Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy said the company wouldn’t launch blockchain-based services.

Despite all of this, we are yet to hear what Bezos thinks about cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Given the scope of his company and his own influence, any commentary from the world’s richest man would no doubt have an effect on the industry.

No. 2: Bill Gates

The principal founder of Microsoft is responsible for developing one of the most popular operating systems around and is ranked as the second richest individual in the world by Forbes. Gates formerly occupied that number one spot from 2014 to 2017.

His wealth is a result of his ingenuity and he has now shifted his focus to philanthropic endeavors. Some of these projects, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are using blockchain technology to solve problems plaguing developing countries.

The Foundation has supported projects like Bitsoko in Ghana, which has pioneered a Bitcoin merchant payment processing and Bitcoin wallet service in Ghana and other African countries.

With that being said, let’s take a look at some of Gates’ most notable takes on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies over the past few years.

During a Reddit Ask Me Anything in February 2018, Gates delivered some cynical remarks about cryptocurrencies in general.

Gates hit out at the anonymity of virtual currencies, saying they were ‘not a good thing’ as they hindered the identification of money laundering, tax evasion and funding of terrorism. He also went on to say that cryptocurrencies had “caused deaths in a fairly direct way” because they enabled people to buy hard drugs anonymously:

“Right now cryptocurrencies are used for buying Fentanyl and other drugs so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way. I think the speculative wave around ICOs and cryptocurrencies is super risky for those who go long,”

Gates’ latest take on Bitcoin was in an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, where he said that he “would short it if there was an easy way to do it”. Gates added that Bitcoin and initial coin offerings (ICOs) offered nothing as an asset class and that people should not expect a rise in value.

While he was fairly harsh on Bitcoin and ICOs, he gave a more measured take on blockchain technology:

“There’s some really good technology in terms of sharing databases and verifying transactions that is talked about as blockchain. That is a good thing.”

Gates’ crypto philanthropy

These sentiments are a far cry to his more optimistic take on Bitcoin in an interview back in 2014 on Bloomberg TV’s Smart Street show. At the time, Gates extolled the virtues of cheap transaction made possible by Bitcoin:

“Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be. Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t have to be physically in the same place and, of course, for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient.”

At the time, Silk Road and other dark web marketplaces had recently been shut down – but Gates was still of the belief that Bitcoin had a lot to offer:

“The customers we’re talking about aren’t trying to be anonymous. They’re willing to be known, so Bitcoin technology is key and you can add to it or you could build a similar technology where there’s enough attribution where people feel comfortable that this is nothing to do with terrorism or any type of money laundering.”

What is more, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have long been supporting blockchain projects, especially in Africa. For example, in 2015, the Foundation donated $100,000 to Bitsoko, a Kenyan Bitcoin merchant payment platform.

The Foundation has been pushing for the development of virtual currencies in Africa, as they could provide a way for the poor to have access to cheap, transactional services.

While Gates holds Bitcoin at an arm’s length, Microsoft has had a long association with Bitcoin and blockchain technology.

Back in 2014, the company’s website began accepting Bitcoin as a payment method, and its cloud computing platform Microsoft Azure launched its Blockchain Workbench that aims to allow companies develop, test and launch blockchain applications.

No. 3: Warren Buffett

Currently ranked the third richest man in the world behind Jeff Bezos and Gates, Buffett is a household name when it comes to investments and finance.

The current CEO and chairman of multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett is considered one of the best investors in the world. When he speaks, people tend to take notice, especially when it comes to money and investments.

The ‘Oracle of Omaha’ has long been a skeptic of Bitcoin. As early as 2014, Buffett has been of the opinion that Bitcoin’s value is merely as a result of its capabilities as a transactional tool, which he believes can and will be replicated, as he told CNBC:

“Stay away from it. It’s a mirage, basically … it’s a method of transmitting money. It’s a very effective way of transmitting money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transmitting money, too. Are checks worth a whole lot of money just because they can transmit money? Are money orders? You can transmit money by money orders. People do it. I hope Bitcoin becomes a better way of doing it, but you can replicate it a bunch of different ways and it will be. The idea that it has some huge intrinsic value is just a joke in my view.”

It took a good three years for Buffett to grab Bitcoin-related headlines again, as the cryptocurrency began its biggest ever bull-run that eventually led to an all time high of $20,000.

In an interview with CNBC in January 2018, Buffett categorically stated that he would not trade Bitcoin, while predicting that cryptocurrencies as a whole would end badly:

“In terms of cryptocurrencies, generally, I can say almost with certainty that they will come to a bad ending. Now, when it happens or how, or anything else, I don’t know.”

Ironically, Buffett followed that very statement with another that suggested he wasn’t too clued up on the technical side of Bitcoin:

“We don’t own any, we’re not short any, we’ll never have a position in them. I get into enough trouble with the things I think I know something about. Why in the world should I take a long or short position in something I don’t know about?”

Buffett’s latest critiques of Bitcoin have been more fervorous. In April 2018, he suggested that buying Bitcoin was closer to gambling than investing in the lead up to Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholder meeting:

“Now, if you buy something like bitcoin or some cryptocurrency, you don’t really have anything that has produced anything. You’re just hoping the next guy pays more.”

“You aren’t investing when you do that. You’re speculating. There’s nothing wrong with it. If you wanna gamble somebody else will come along and pay more money tomorrow, that’s one kind of game. That is not investing.”

The 87 year old further fueled that flame at the annual meeting where he was asked for his latest take on cryptocurrencies, stating “cryptocurrencies will come to bad endings.”

Buffett’s missed opportunities

While his stance on crypto is pretty clear, in 2017 Buffett admitted that he’d missed the boat on certain technology stocks over the years as reported by Fortune.

While Berkshire Hathaway have invested heavily in Apple of late, Buffett lamented passing the chance to buy Google stock when it launched its initial public offering in 2004 at the company’s 2017 annual meeting.

Buffett’s had a change of heart when it comes to tech companies, saying the market has ‘fundamentally changed’. According to Fortune, in 2017 the top five American tech companies were worth more than $2.5 tln – that is Amazon, Alphabet (formerly Google), Microsoft, Apple and Facebook.

Buffett said the same of Amazon in no uncertain terms: “I was too dumb to realize what was going to happen.”

It begs the question, are Buffett and some of his closest business partners like Charlie Munger missing the trick once again? Only time will tell, as it always does.

No. 4: Mark Zuckerberg

Currently rated the fifth richest individual on Earth by Forbes, Mark Zuckerberg is the cofounder, current chairman and CEO of Facebook.

The man has been in the news a lot lately, due to Facebook’s involvement in the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal.

Surprisingly, Zuckerberg has hardly been quoted in the media when it comes to his views on Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

In fact, it’s hard to find much on the subject from Zuckerberg other than his own Facebook post in January 2018.

In that very post, Zuckerberg expressed his goals for 2018, which centered around making his social media platform a better tool for people in their everyday lives. Looking for areas to take inspiration from, Zuckerberg pointed to cryptocurrencies:

“There are important counter-trends to this – like encryption and cryptocurrency – that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands … i’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”

Ironically, Facebook and a number of the world’s biggest social media platforms and search engines announced plans to ban cryptocurrency and ICO advertising on their platforms.

Facebook’s move to ban these adverts are intended to prevent unwary investors from being duped by fraudulent services and scams – which could be an understandable endeavor.

However it ends up painting all cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based services and companies with the same brush, denying them one of the biggest advertising platforms in the world.

Winds of change

As we’ve seen, none of these influential leaders can predict the future, but almost every single one has left indelible marks in their various spheres of influence.

However, slowly but surely, it seems that blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are creeping into these spheres and these same men will no doubt have very different opinions on the subject matter in the coming years.

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Microsoft’s Search Engine Bing Says It Will Ban Crypto-Related Ads By July 2018

Microsoft-powered search engine Bing has joined other internet giants in announcing it will ban cryptocurrency-related advertisements on its network by July 2018, according to an official blog post today, May 15.

According to the statement, the main reason for the company’s decision to ban “advertising for cryptocurrency” and “cryptocurrency related products” is the current unregulated status of cryptocurrencies, which allegedly increases risk for Bing’s users:

“Because cryptocurrency and related products are not regulated, we have found them to present a possible elevated risk to our users with the potential for bad actors to participate in predatory behaviors, or otherwise scam consumers.”

As the report further says, Bing Ads tool plans to fully implement the ban worldwide between June until early July.

Bing’s crypto ads ban is the latest move in a search engine and social media crypto-boycott, initiated by Facebook in late January of this year. Google announced an analogous crypto ad ban in mid-March, and Twitter confirmed its own ban soon after.

Last week, multiple mainstream media outlets reported that Facebook is reportedly “exploring” the launch of its own cryptocurrency.

Earlier in April, the co-founder of LinkedIn told Cointelegraph that the recent crypto ad bans are, in his opinion, most likely “temporary” and due to the current absence of clear crypto market regulations.

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Microsoft Azure Launches Tool To Speed Up Blockchain-Based App Creation

Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure formally announced the release of its blockchain app creation service, Azure Blockchain Workbench, on May 7.

In a press release, the company highlighted blockchain as a “key topic of interest” as it also kicks of its annual Microsoft Build conference this week.

Workbench will allow businesses looking to create bespoke blockchain apps to speed up the development process by automating infrastructure setup.

This, Microsoft Azure general manager Matthew Kerner says, means “developers can focus on application logic, and business owners can focus on defining and validating their use cases.”

The computing giant’s optimism around both blockchain and aspects of cryptocurrency has continued despite founder Bill Gates’ well-publicized criticism of Bitcoin as an investment.

In February, support from the company came in the form of Microsoft’s Identity division plugging off-chain scaling solutions for Bitcoin, at a time when the Lightning Network was seeing significant growth in user numbers.

While integrating a blockchain-based ID system into its Microsoft Authenticator service, the company was specific in its praise of decentralized protocols. Back in February, Microsoft Identity director of program management Alex Simons wrote on the company’s blog:

“While some blockchain communities have increased on-chain transaction capacity (e.g. blocksize increases), this approach generally degrades the decentralized state of the network and cannot reach the millions of transactions per second the system would generate at world-scale.”

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Bill Gates Bearish on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Investments

The billionaire philanthropist: Bill Gates – co founder of Microsoft, on CNBC’s Squawk Box added some strong words against bitcoin and any crypto-investment-related activity.

“As an asset class, you’re not producing anything and so you shouldn’t expect it to go up. It’s kind of a pure ‘greater fool theory’ type of investment,” Gates

This is an economic theory which explains that the price [in this case of cryptocurrencies] is not as a result of its actual value but the summed up beliefs or even expectations taking part in that market. For example: oil has tangible benefits that can easily be demonstrated—run cars, and generate heat in the winter. Cryptocurrencies, or bitcoin, specifically, is merely digital code—which concludes with being vulnerable to fluctuation based on the unreliable opinions of everyone trading stock.

“I agree I would short it if there was an easy way to do it,” said Gates. “Bitcoin and ICOs, I believe completely [they’re some] of the crazier, speculative things.”

Despite standing very bearish against cryptos or bitcoin, he continued that the technology behind the coins – blockchain does bring up some value. Blockchain eliminates the need for a third-party intermediary, such as a bank, by quickly creating a secure, permanent record of a transaction between two parties. Various companies and financial institutions are studying blockchain tech and looking at ways to implement it to trading, supply chain management and other areas.

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Bill Gates: I’d Short ‘Crazier, Speculative’ Bitcoin If I Could

Microsoft founder Bill Gates issued critical comments about Bitcoin May 7, telling CNBC it was a “greater fool” investment and he “would short it if he could.”

In comments during the network’s Squawk Box segment, Gates, who in February claimed cryptocurrencies had “caused deaths in a fairly direct way,” nonetheless did not discount the idea of engaging with it himself.

“As an asset class, you’re not producing anything and so you shouldn’t expect it to go up. It’s kind of a pure ‘greater fool theory’ type of investment,” he said.

“I agree I would short it if there was an easy way to do it.”

The timing of Gates’ cautionary words is curious. In the year institutional investors can short Bitcoin using futures contracts, investment banking giant Goldman Sachs last week appeared to confirm it would not only join in on that arena, but seek to offer clients more direct exposure to Bitcoin specifically.

As Cointelegraph reported quoting an executive in charge of the plans, Goldman now considers cryptocurrency “not a fraud,” and while it is a “heightened risk,” it is not “something it doesn’t understand.”

For the Microsoft mogul, however, the assets would appear too risky for long-term commitments, either as a client or institution.

“Bitcoin and ICOs, I believe completely [they’re some] of the crazier, speculative things,” he added.

Gates’ most recent comments echo those made on Saturday by Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, with the latter going as far as to compare Bitcoin investment to “trading turds”:

“Someone else is trading turds and you decide I can’t be left out.”

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Bill Gates, “Cryptocurrencies… caused deaths in a fairly direct way” in Reddit AMA, Community Reacts

Bill Gates, principal founder of the Microsoft Corporation, has caused a furor among Reddit users, stating that cryptocurrencies are “a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way”, during an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit on Feb. 27.

“The main feature of crypto currencies is their anonymity. I don’t think this is a good thing. The Government’s ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing. Right now crypto currencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way. I think the speculative wave around ICOs and crypto currencies is super risky for those who go long,” wrote Gates.

While drug purchases online have been increasing, the vast majority of drug users still purchase illicit substances via more ‘traditional’ methods. According to a 2017 Global Drug Survey, regardless of country, less than half of drug users purchase substances via the dark web in any one country. The global median for percentage of drug users who use the dark net is 10.1 percent.

Gates’ remarks resulted in harsh criticism from Redditors participating in the discussion. While some advised Gates to re-read the Bitcoin white paper, others reproached him for what was perceived to be an attempt to influence the cryptomarket with his celebrity status:

“… [I]f Bill Gates says he doesn’t like crypto because of how well shaded the flow of money is…a lot of ears are perking up,” said a user calling themself Hoticewater.

When one of the users pointed out that fiat currencies can also be used for illegal activities such as money laundering, tax evasion, terrorist funding, and drug purchases, Gates said that the necessity of a physical presence makes illicit activities and transfers more difficult:

“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.”

Back in 2015, the Microsoft founder’s position towards cryptocurrencies was far more optimistic. In an interview with Erik Schatzker on Bloomberg TV’s Smart Street show, Gates put it baldly that, “bitcoin is better than currency…”.

Moreover, as part of the “Financial Services for the Poor” initiative, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has sponsored the development of Blockchain infrastructure for merchants in Kenya to accept cryptocurrencies.

While Gates remains skeptical of cryptocurrencies, the underlying blockchain technology also remains an area of interest of the Microsoft Corporation, which has gone ahead without his direction as CEO. Over the past year, Microsoft participated in several business initiatives related to blockchain technology, like Microsoft Azure or Coco Framework.

The company recently announced it was looking to integrate Blockchain-based decentralized IDs into its Microsoft Authenticator app. Microsoft decided that Blockchain technology and protocols were well suited to the task of their project; creating a secure and decentralized form of digital identity.  

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Bill Gates' 'Nonsense' Crypto Comments Draw Twitter Ire

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates took aim at cryptocurrencies during a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session Tuesday – much to the ire of some social-media commentators.

Responding to a question about cryptocurrencies, the world’s second-richest man said the ability of governments to track money laundering or terrorist funds “is a good thing.”

Gates continued, saying:

“Right now cryptocurrencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way. I think the speculative wave around ICOs and cryptocurrencies is super risky for those who go long.”

Naturally, the crypto world was not impressed by this answer.

Reactions on Twitter immediately began dissecting the response on both semantic and technical grounds.

Venture capitalist Anthony Pompliano pointed out that cryptocurrencies are not strictly anonymous, and said the same concerns Gates stated could be applied to traditional fiat currencies.

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Ripple Could Turn out the Best Payment System – Gates Foundation Support

Ripple’s Interledger Protocol [ILP] has found use by the Mojaloop software which has been released by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The development by the foundation has been done with the target to help level the economic playing field for the 2 billion people who are trapped in poverty, many of whom solely because they do not have access to a bank account or other basic financial services.

Mojaloop – is an open-source software which banks can adapt and find their own use of it very easily with low cost and effort. During its development, the project was funded by the Gates Foundation and created by fintech companies while including Ripple.

An Interoperability layer has been created with the use of Ripple’s ILP technology which connects mobile wallets, merchants and bank accounts in a single loop. Based on the information reported by Ripple, the particular system will enable market participants and users to initiate virtual transactions as “freely and fluidly” as cash.

Kosta Peric, Gates Foundation deputy director of financial services for the poor, explained in a statement that interoperability has been one of the primary obstacles preventing the poor from using digital wallets to access basic financial services:

“Interoperability of digital payments has been the toughest hurdle for the financial services industry to overcome. With Mojaloop, our technology partners have finally achieved a solution that can apply to any service, and we invite banks and the payments industry to explore and test this tool.”

On the other hand, Stefan Thomas – Ripple’s Chief Technology Officer, commented that Mojaloop has opened doors for millions of people into the virtual economy:

“Enabling the poor to make payments to anyone, anywhere, using a mobile wallet has implications beyond increased access to their domestic economies. It has the potential to bring millions into the fold of the global digital economy. We are honored to have been a part of this project.”

However, just to keep in mind unlike the startup Stellar – this project might not have any effect on the Ripple price itself as the market is declining as a whole right now.

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