Bill Gates says cryptocurrencies are leading to deaths and rising drug abuse

Microsoft co-founder, the world's second richest man after Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates.Justin Tallis/AFP

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, has criticized the anonymity of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, saying the use of digital cash has led to deaths.

The world’s second richest man took part in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session this week, during which he was asked about his thoughts on cryptocurrency.

The technology has soared in popularity over the past year as the price of Bitcoin climbed to almost US$20,000. Part of the appeal of the digital cash is the anonymity it grants holders. It uses decentralized technology for secure payments and storing money that does not require banks or people’s names.