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US Presidential Candidates Discuss Crypto, Privacy and Regulators at Special Forum

Last Updated December 13, 2023 4:04 PM
Josh Adams
Last Updated December 13, 2023 4:04 PM
Key Takeaways
  • Vivek Ramaswamy, Asa Hutchinson and Dean Phillips made a campaign first this week.
  • They attended the ‘Stand With Crypto’ event to discuss digital asset policy.
  • Republican front runner, Donald Trump, did not make an appearance.

Cryptocurrency regulation took center stage on December 11 as 2024 presidential hopefuls Vivek Ramaswamy (R), Rep. Dean Phillips of Minnesota (D) and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) converged in Manchester, New Hampshire, for the first ever bipartisan crypto presidential forum

Organized by the non-partisan Stand With Crypto Alliance, the event, held at Saint Anselm College, gave the candidates a chance to share their perspectives. However, the event was notable by its absences. Neither Donald Trump, President Biden, Nikki Haley nor Florida Governor Ron DeSantis chose to show.

Vivek Ramaswamy Throws Bombs, as per Usual

When asked by a reporter how he would “end the assault on the freedom to code,” Ramaswamy, the Republican businessman and author, pulled no punches in his remarks. President Biden and many fellow Republicans were puppets of the managerial class in the administrative bureaucracy, he said. 

Arguing that many agencies have strayed from accountability, he said: “I don’t believe in 100 different executive branches, each operating on their own island under the so-called guise of independence.”. As president, he pledged to “direct all agencies to immediately cease enforcing any regulation that fails the Supreme Court’s test, West Virginia vs. EPA .” This would include crypto rules that Congress never formally passed.

Meanwhile, Congressman Phillips, a long shot to take Joe Biden’s place as the Democratic nominee, acknowledged flaws in the government’s response. He said: “This should have been well behind us already: a regulatory environment, a protective environment, but also an environment that fosters innovation.” 

The representative said he loved “the privacy elements of crypto.” However, the Minnesota Democrat hedged, saying he would take a balanced approach. He explained: “I want to ensure that privacy doesn’t come at a cost as it relates to nefarious use.”

Phillips also called for level-headed decision making, pledging to “surround myself with people on both sides of an issue.” 

Asa Hutchinson Plays to the Crowd

Meanwhile, former Arkansas Governor Hutchinson focused on transparency, arguing it is key to building public confidence. He said: “The public needs to understand the nature of the industry, how it works, how they can profit from it, how they can invest in it.” 

Hutchinson pointed out the widespread concerns about Hamas supposedly using cryptocurrency and emphasized the importance of reassuring the public that digital assets are not being exploited by criminal groups. Hutchinson also maintained that “there is more transparency actually in the crypto market than there is in traditional finance.”

Online excerpts show that the debate did not reveal much new information. All three participants agreed that the American government should support innovation while protecting consumers. This idea is widely accepted by most politicians, regardless of their practical stance on cryptocurrency

Notably, two of the three candidates, Phillips and Hutchinson, admitted they had little experience with crypto or the industry.

While the forum is the first of its kind, it is unlikely to have a big impact. According to data from FiveThirtyEight , Vivek Ramaswamy currently sits on 4.5% and Asa Hutchinson is on less than 1% in Republican nominee polling. Morning Consult  put Dean Phillips at single digits in the Democratic race in November.


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