Races for Senate are usually relatively similar. There are a few candidates, some routine bickering, a few shocking allegations, and enough muckraking to make even progressive era journalists look like they were embellishing their subjects. Occasionally though, a wrench is thrown in and shakes up the entire election. This year that person was Austin Petersen.
Political opinions aside, Petersen seems to embody the libertarian spirit put forth by the more anarchical members of the cryptocurrency community. In our short conversation, he continuously pointed out the failings of big government, talked about his thoughts on where cryptocurrency could go and spoke about some of the shortcomings of centralized platforms in the era of fake news.
Petersen is an imposing figure. If you Google him the first thing you’ll see is him holding a gun and smirking. His career is atypical, to say the least. He’s been a model, producer, and consultant even appearing on SNL briefly. Most of his non-political career has been spent in journalism. He currently runs The Libertarian Republic and Liberty Viral news sites. He unsuccessfully ran for the Libertarian party nomination against former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson in the 2016 Presidential Election. He’s now running for a Senate seat in Missouri and has repeatedly made headlines.
Earlier this year, we wrote about Mr. Petersen receiving 24 Bitcoins. It turns out he’s actually had to send back a quarter of a million dollar donation twice for exceeding the Federal Election Commission limit. Having received so much support from crypto users, I was curious about his views on crypto regulation and whether he might have even seen crypto as a potential replacement to fiat currencies.
Mr. Petersen’s view of monetary policy is very libertarian and closely mimics that of the Austrian School of Economics. He believes that America can and should support an economic model without a central bank. This decentralized model of American economics would have the dollar competing with cryptocurrencies for dominance in the U.S. economy and leaves the door open to the tokenization of everything. With his economic views, the crypto donations given to Petersen make a little more sense.
The other interesting thing about Petersen is the publicity he’s received related to his ban from Facebook. Mr. Petersen has been banned from Facebook twice after giving away an AR-15 style rifle. The first time he was banned, Fox News and the New York Times did some digging and found out that Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO was the biggest donor to his democratic counterpart resulting in Facebook lifting the ban. Facebook again banned Petersen for 30 days when he would be giving away another AR-15 style rifle.
While Petersen is against regulating Facebook because it would interfere with the free market, he did state that he thought decentralized social networks were a definite possible competitor for Facebook, especially as it continues to censor the right. Overall Petersen comes off as a staunch Libertarian and for now, that attitude seems like it might reflect the views of many people in the crypto community. Only time will tell whether or not this is the case.
Featured image from Flickr/Gage Skidmore