Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire who co-founded PayPal, sits on the board of Facebook, invested in BitPay and strongly supported Donald Trump during the election campaign, is reportedly considering a bid for California’s Governorship in 2018.
Politico reports that according to three Republicans familiar with Thiel’s thinking, he “has been discussing a prospective bid with a small circle of advisers, including Rob Morrow, who has emerged as his political consigliere.”
Although California is seen as liberal, Thiel’s wide name recognition, his business credentials, as well as his futuristic thinking, from tech to medicine to governance, might make a run as good as uncontested as he would be able to galvanize Silicon Valley and a growing libertarian movement primarily driven by the millennial generation which wants to dream once more of a futuristic world brought by tech and scientific innovation.
If he does run and win, California, which is currently ranked as the worst regulatory environment out of seven global centers for Fintech companies, might become much more friendly to bitcoin, blockchain and Fintech start-ups, potentially bringing in new money and talent as innovators finally find a partner and maybe even cheerleader in the Governor’s office.
Thiel's strong support for Trump has already given him some influence in the new administration so being appointed to Trump’s presidential transition team. Although it is not clear whether he will be offered any further positions, it is widely speculated that Thiel may have contributed toward the potential appointment of Balaji Srinivasan, the CEO of 21.inc which is building a “bitcoin computer,” to the US Food and Drug Administration. Some found this somewhat peculiar, but Balaji and Thiel are both interested in advancing medicine with PayPal’s co-founder stating in a recent interview for New York Times:
“We have to be more experimental in all our medical procedures. We should not go gently into that good night.”
While Thiel’s friend, Elon Musk, dreams of colonizing Mars, the Silicon Valley billionaire dreams of colonizing the oceans by establishing independent citadel-ships, pledging several six-figure sums to the Seasteading Institute.
On bitcoin, Thiel has stated that it has the potential to change the world, adding that it has achieved what he couldn’t, creating a new currency. In the early days, he wanted PayPal to be new money as well as a payment system, but failed on the currency aspect due to the regulatory environment.
Taken all together, a Thiel run for the Governorship would re-energize the millennial generation by returning a vision of a better and futuristic tomorrow, symbolized by the 80’s dreams of flying cars and, more concretely, bullet speed trains that go at 500 km/h. Thiel stated:
“I think a lot of people want to go back to a past that was futuristic — ‘The Jetsons,’ ‘Star Trek.’ They’re dated but futuristic.”
Our space is one of the few that is still driving at the bleeding edge, keeping that dream alive, with visions of decentralized autonomous organizations that provide machines with the ability to exchange value through smart contracts. Trump’s presidency, widely expected to be very friendly to this space, may accelerate these innovations, but a Thiel governorship would accelerate them further and might even perhaps bring to reality those flying cars we were promised before our elites decided to squander our wealth and resources on useless endless wars instead of funding science and innovation.
Image from Flickr.