As the race for the 2020 Presidential election enters into full swing, it’s time to dive into where each of the political candidates stand on major issues. With cryptocurrency and blockchain at the forefront of finance and tech, understanding candidates’ stances could shed light on their perspectives about economics, entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology.
While we do not endorse any candidate or party, we have compiled some highlights of each candidates’ public statements directly about—or adjacent to—cryptocurrency and blockchain. We’ve also broken down the list into whether the candidate has come out as explicitly “positive about crypto,” “negative about crypto,” or if they are “relatively neutral.”
Through the use of publicly available information, our goal here is to estimate whether each candidate would support or obstruct the ongoing growth and development of the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry.
Positive about crypto
*UPDATE*: As of February 11, 2020, Andrew Yang suspended his campaign.
Currently viewed as the “pro-bitcoin” candidate (and the only one to accept cryptocurrency donations), Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang takes a different approach related to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. BeInCrypto reports that Yang has even offered a proposal that would incentivize the “growth and development of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.” In his own words, Yang has said “My vision of the economy is very consistent with the people who are in the cryptocurrency community.”
Among the 2020 hopefuls, Yang is the one who has the greatest degree of ambition in optimizing blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Yang does have intentions and plans to get involved with and regulate the crypto industry, and he seeks to paint himself as the candidate most “in touch” with innovative technologies—including the solutions needed to maintain progress. As he noted to Bloomberg Politics:
Right now we’re stuck with this hodgepodge of state-by-state treatments and it’s bad for everybody: it’s bad for innovators who want to invest in this space. So that would be my priority is clear and transparent rules so that everyone knows where they can head in the future and that we can maintain competitiveness.”
And yet, another thought to consider is that while Yang is very much pro-crypto, he is equally pro-regulation of the crypto industry calling for government definitions of what a token is, what a security is, and assigning tax implications to the owning, selling, and trading of digital assets, including cryptocurrencies. They may ruffle the feathers of community members who are very focused on decentralization and minimizing government intervention in crypto.
At the height of the 2017 cryptocurrency frenzy, Tulsi Gabbard had enough faith to do more than lip service for cryptocurrencies; she invested in both Ethereum and Litecoin.
Despite these acts in her private life, Gabbard has not yet made a public statement as a presidential candidate on how she feels about cryptocurrency, its regulation, or any other related issues, giving her a somewhat neutral stance on cryptocurrencies.
Long before making the decision to run for President, Bloomberg expressed derision over the ideas that world governments would, or should, give up control over their monetary policies. He goes on to say that while the world may embrace cryptocurrencies in the future, he believes the world financial structure is headed another direction with even beggars in the street in countries like India and China prefer to deal in digital transfers rather than have cash.
But Bloomberg has come around to the idea that the world is moving away from the idea of cash as currency, as he described when noting that failing to move to an all-digital type of currency could be to our own detriment in a 2017 YouTube video.
Bloomberg has not come out, on the campaign trail at least, for or against these types of currencies. At this time, we’re still uncertain about his official stance on cryptocurrencies.
While Pete Buttigieg has not come out with a clear stance on crypto, something that has been interesting to watch has been Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s attempts to get close to the Buttigieg campaign. According to Bloomberg Politics, both Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were in close contact with Buttigieg’s campaign manager Mike Schmuhl, making recommendations for campaign staff hires.
These interactions came right around when Zuckerberg was preparing to speak in from of the House Financial Services Committee on the impact Facebook has been having in finance and housing. Given the social media titan’s recent efforts towards its Libra cryptocurrency initiative, it’s difficult to not read a bit into these hiring recommendations.
While former Vice President Biden hasn’t said much at all directly about cryptocurrencies, one of the PACs campaigning on his behalf—from very early on, since before he even announced his run for the Presidency this time around—has been accepting bitcoin donations since 2016. Unfortunately, no one yet knows how Biden himself feels about cryptocurrency, despite being dubbed the “Bitcoin Candidate” by some. While Biden speaks out for or against many issues he feels are important, he has not yet taken a public stance for or against crypto investing.
While Bernie Sanders himself hasn’t come out on either side of the cryptocurrency debate, there are those who believe, according to Cryptocurrency Wire, that a Sanders Presidency could ultimately have a “positive and lasting” effect on the cryptocurrency industry. Several industry leaders have come out and said so, explicitly, with their arguments centering around crypto as a way to keep power in the hands of the people—which aligns with Sanders’ message.
BraveNewCoin’s head of research, Tone Vays, told CoinTelegraph:
Bernie Sanders becoming the next US President will be amazing for Bitcoin. Many feel that with his attempts to legalize drugs that Bitcoin may use a lot of utility. However, with his borderline communist views on taxes, Bitcoin will thrive as a way of protecting your money from the extortionists and should become the conduit to transferring wealth cross borders.”
Since officially entering the 2020 Democratic nomination race in July 2019, Tom Steyer has not made any public comments that speak to his perspective on cryptocurrency, and we could not identify any history that indicates whether he is for or against supporting the ongoing existence and development of the cryptocurrency industry.
Negative about crypto
During a 2017 congressional hearing, Amy Klobuchar expressed concern over the ease with which crypto or digital currencies would allow criminals and drug enterprises to hide their money so that law enforcement can’t track it, asking, “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 carters are going to start going cash free, and what do you do about it?”
What this reveals is that Klobuchar has serious concerns about and isn’t quite ready to fully embrace the world of cryptocurrencies, especially in light of the government’s apparent inability to regulate, track, or properly monitor where the money is coming from, where it has been, or where it is going next.
Elizabeth Warren has come out as highly critical of cryptocurrencies. “The challenge is how to nurture productive aspects of crypto with protecting the consumers,” she said per Forbes. She also expressed concerns that crypto is easy to steal via hacking and thefts, and that there are many scams associated with cryptocurrencies that primarily target small investors.
While Warren has warned that the U.S. economy is on the verge of collapse for a long time, some believe she is inadvertently making the case for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a way for people to protect their money from a collapse of the U.S. Dollar.
The downside for cryptocurrency investors with Warren is that she seeks to establish securities laws and regulations around the industry to keep investors safe. Unfortunately, these types of regulations place the anonymity of blockchain at risk, which is part of the draw for many consumers who currently use cryptocurrencies regularly.
Current President Donald Trump has made no bones about the skepticism he has for cryptocurrency, stating that he is “not a fan,” according to his official Twitter account, where he spoke of “Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money and who value is highly volatile and based on thin air.” Trump places this skepticism alongside his whole-hearted belief in the power of the dollar.
In fact, President Trump has come out against crypto as a way for others to try and subvert the dollar (when not facilitating unlawful behavior and illegal activity). He signed an executive order banning U.S. citizens from purchasing the Venezuelan-backed Petro, citing it as an attempt for the Venezuelan government to circumvent sanctions, according to Forbes. In case you missed it, petro is the Venezuelan government’s attempt at creating cryptocurrency, which they back using the country’s oil reserves.
President Trump has also been openly critical of the Facebook Libra project in progress. Between Trump’s statement that (despite being cryptocurrency) they will have to become subject to the same regulations—national and international—required of banks as well as congressional concerns over Facebook’s privacy history, it looks to be an uphill battle for Libra as long as President Trump is in office.
Awareness regarding the way politicians feel about cryptocurrency can help you make informed decisions about which candidates most closely align with your personal views crypto, so that you can then vote accordingly.
Where do your favorite candidates stand? Were you surprised to learn about any of these stances? Join the discussion below.