From Nathaniel Popper's book "Digital Gold"
At the Allen & Co. conference, Wences Casares was given one of the speaking slots before Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett took the stage.
[Wences is an Argentinian technology entrepreneur who had founded Argentina’s first internet service provider. Through his many connections with high profile people in Silicon Valley, Wences was already able to convince the likes of Max Levchin, Marc Andreessen, David Marcus, Reid Hoffman and many more of the promise of Bitcoin].
Wences gave what was becoming a standard talk, beginning with the history of money, and going on to discuss the potential for Bitcoin to provide financial services to poor people who had long been shut out. He touched on Xapo [Wences’ latest Bitcoin startup] only briefly, at the end. After Wences came down and took a seat with Belle [Wences’ wife], Bezos said from the stage that it was the kind of talk that kept him coming to these events.
In the hallway walking to lunch, after the Bezos-Buffett conversation, Wences spotted Bill Gates, who had been notably reticent about Bitcoin. Wences knew that Gates’s multibillion-dollar foundation had been making a big push to get people in the developing world connected financially, and Wences approached him to explain why Bitcoin might help his cause. As soon as Wences broached the topic, Gates’s face clouded over, and there was a note of anger in his voice as he told Wences that the foundation would never use an anonymous money to further its cause.
Wences was somewhat taken aback, but this was not the first time he had been challenged by a powerful person. He quickly said that Bitcoin could indeed be used anonymously—but so could cash. And Bitcoin services could easily be set up so that users were not anonymous. He then spoke directly to the work that Gates was doing, and noted that the foundation had been pushing people in poor countries into expensive digital services that came with lots of fees each time they were used. The famous M-Pesa system allowed Kenyans to hold and spend money on their cell phones, but charged a fee each time. “You are spending billions to make poor people poorer,” Wences said.
Gates didn’t just roll over. He vigorously defended the work his foundation had already done, but Gates was less hostile than he had been a few moments earlier, and seemed to evince a certain respect for Wences’s chutzpah.
Wences saw the crowd that was watching the conversation, and knew he had to be careful about antagonizing Bill Gates, especially in front of others. But Wences had another point he wanted to make. He knew that back in the early days of the Internet, Gates had initially bet against the open Internet and built a closed network for Microsoft that was similar to Compuserve and Prodigy—it linked computers to a central server, with news and other information, but not to the broader Internet, as the TCP/IP protocol allowed.
“To me it feels like you are trying to get the whole world connected with something like Compuserve when everyone already has access to TCP/IP,” he said, and then paused anxiously to see what kind of response he would get.
What he heard back from Gates was more than he could have reasonably hoped for. “You know what? I told the foundation not to touch Bitcoin and that may have been a mistake,” Gates said, amicably. “We are going to call you.”
Not long after, in July 2015, it was announced that the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation would be promoting bitcoin awareness in Kenya. https://cointelegraph.com/news/bill-melinda-gates-foundation-promotes-bitcoin-in-kenya TL;DR
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