Cryptocurrencies and politics are intertwined. Here’s what the top politicians in the U.S. elections think about cryptocurrencies.
In the cryptocurrency and blockchain sphere, it’s difficult to do away with politicians and vice versa. With the presidential election in the United States slated for later this year, interested parties are doing all they can to sell their dreams and vision for America.
That said, vying for a political post doesn’t come cheap. In the run-up to the elections scheduled for Nov. 3, there has been an increase in the number of politicians accepting cryptocurrency donations to fund their campaigns, from senators to presidential candidates. This called for an outline of clear guidelines on Bitcoin contributions to candidates.
Despite the immense benefits of blockchain and digital currencies, not everyone is willing to make use of them or believe in their potential. The decentralized nature of crypto and blockchain has always been a tough pill to swallow for most governments, and the U.S. is no exception. Let’s take a look at where some of the nation’s top politicians stand regarding cryptocurrencies.
The 45th President of the United States is very much aware of Bitcoin, and he doesn’t like it. In July 2019, Trump unleashed a scathing attack on the premier cryptocurrency in a tweet that came days after the launch of Facebook’s Libra crypto project. He categorically stated that he wasn’t a fan of Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies aren’t money, and their value is highly volatile.
Trump’s administration has failed to create a clear regulatory framework on digital currencies and blockchain. However, in March, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced the appointment of Bitcoin bull Brian Brooks as its chief operating officer. The appointment was viewed as an endorsement of blockchain technology by the Trump administration.
The former U.S. Vice President and the only democrat contesting for a presidential seat after Bernie Sanders dropped out is presumed to be a Bitcoin supporter. In one article, Biden was portrayed as “the Bitcoin candidate.” While he hasn’t come out publicly to endorse cryptocurrencies, Biden is a strong supporter of technology and innovation. Back in 2011, he commented about the internet and dubbed it a neutral source: ‘’The Internet itself is not inherently a force for democracy or oppression, for war or peace. Like any public square or any platform for commerce, the Internet is neutral.”
Further, the Political Action Committee, which was campaigning for Biden’s presidential bid, started accepting Bitcoin donations in 2016. According to the PAC’s director at the time, the move was in line with Biden’s “support of technology and innovation throughout his career.”
The former presidential hopeful and democratic socialist hasn’t taken an outright stand on cryptocurrencies. However, a recent report indicated that tech giants in Silicon Valley feared Sanders. That said, another report by the Guardian showed that Sanders had raked in the highest number of donations from tech companies such as Microsoft and Facebook. By March 2020, he had received about $726,702 from employees working in some of the largest tech companies in the United States.
This presidential nominee is the first woman to contest for the highest seat in the land using the Libertarian Party ticket. The vocal political activist is a believer in free markets and unrestricted competition between banks and other deposit-taking institutions. When speaking about her stand on financial aspects of the country, she stated that her first step would be to enact Ron Paul’s Free Competition in Currency Act. On her Reddit page, she stated:
‘’Also, I would repeal the Bank Secrecy Act, Know-Your-Customer (KYC), and other laws that violate our right to financial privacy. Many people go to bitcoin because they do want privacy so I would work to repeal those unjust laws.’’
On July 4, the famous U.S. rap artist, Kanye West, announced that he was going to run for the presidential seat. Though a late entrant into the race, a win by Kanye is thought to be great for the crypto community. Kanye knows about Bitcoin, and he has made a reference to the cryptocurrency in an interview with TMZ, stating:
“When I saw Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, that’s the moment when I wanted to use bitcoin.”
The Senator for Massachusetts, who also dropped out of the presidential race, has always had healthy criticism for cryptocurrencies and blockchain-related products. When speaking to Yahoo Finance, she stated that she was concerned about consumers getting hurt, since crypto has a history of high volatility.
She believes that there’s a challenge in nurturing the benefits of crypto while protecting consumers. That said, the democrat is eager to understand the technology behind cryptocurrencies and develop policies that will protect American citizens when it comes to this technology.
The billionaire and former mayor of New York has been quite vocal about cryptocurrencies. At the start of the year, before he dropped out of the presidential race, Bloomberg published a financial reform plan where he emphasized the need for a clear regulatory framework around cryptocurrencies.
Bloomberg acknowledged that crypto and Bitcoin have become a high net worth investment asset, yet its regulatory framework was severely fragmented. He firmly believes that the financial sector needs to be regulated for it to thrive and remain accountable.
One of the youngest presidential hopefuls in the 2020 general elections, Buttigieg isn’t shy to talk about technology. The democrat, who also dropped out of the race, received some hiring advice from Mark Zuckerberg last year that was seen as an endorsement from leading tech companies. While Buttgieg has no precise stance on blockchain, he has appreciated the efforts of Estonia in securing all its citizens’ identity information on a blockchain. Meltem Demirors, the chief strategist of Coinshares, gave her assessment of Buttigieg as he testified before the Congress hearing on Libra:
“I don’t think Buttigieg is particularly focused on cryptocurrencies. I think he is very focused on courting Silicon Valley.”
According to her financial disclosure report with the federal government, the U.S. Congresswoman from Hawaii invested in Litecoin (LTC) and Ether (ETH) back in 2017. During this period, the crypto market was in a bull run that led to Bitcoin hitting an all-time high of almost $20,000. It’s unclear how much of her crypto portfolio is still in place, as is whether Gabbard is holding onto her assets or has realized her crypto for a profit or a loss since then.
The seasoned lawyer and Minnesota senator has dropped out of the 2020 race to the White House, but she was a darling of both Republicans and Democrats. While she hasn’t stepped forward to speak about cryptocurrencies, she may have touched on the topic during a congressional hearing about terrorism and money laundering, stating:
“Is this transition we’re seeing from cash to digital going to make it easier or harder for law enforcement to track these money laundering cases, and do you think these drug cartels are going to start going cash-free, and what do you do about it?”
The statement signifies her concern that cryptocurrencies are used by criminals to fund their activities around the world, a common belief shared by most politicians around the world.
Presidential hopefuls aside, the current Treasury Secretary is rather skeptical about cryptocurrencies. In March 2020, when testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, Mnuchin stated that the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network would release new regulations touching on cryptocurrencies. Last year, Mnuchin raised fears about Facebook’s crypto project Libra, saying that it posed a serious “national security issue.” In a press conference, he stated:
“Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin have been exploited to support billions of dollars of illicit activity like cybercrime, tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, illicit drugs and human trafficking.’’
The 70th U.S. Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, believes that cryptocurrencies should be regulated in a similar way as other financial instruments. He thinks that crypto transactions should be governed similarly to SWIFT, though he admits that it would be difficult to accomplish. In one interview, Pompeo stated that pseudonymous cryptocurrencies were being used to fund terrorism and other criminal activities. The Trump administrator believes that the current global financial system needs to be preserved and protected.
The current chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission has delayed approval of exchange-traded funds on several occasions. However, his nomination by President Trump as the U.S. Attorney for the New York Southern District was welcomed by crypto proponents who believe that it will be an excellent opportunity for the SEC to make a positive move.