Manchester, New Hampshire will play host to an unusual political event on December 11 – a forum dedicated entirely to blockchain technology and digital assets. Organized by cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase‘s “Stand With Crypto” campaign, this nonpartisan gathering has confirmed the attendance of 2024 Republican presidential candidates Vivek Ramaswamy and Asa Hutchinson, along with Democratic Congressman Dean Phillips. Donald Trump, who is set to take the Republican nomination by a landslide, will not be attending.
The forum comes just weeks ahead of New Hampshire’s critical primary and offers presidential hopefuls an opportunity to share their perspectives on crypto with voters. For entrepreneur-turned-politician Vivek Ramaswamy, this event provides a platform to reiterate his bold vision for hands-off cryptocurrency policies.
39-year-old biotech mogul Vivek Ramaswamy entered the presidential race in February 2023, with an unexpectedly strong libertarian platform centered on empowering citizens, splashed with a heavy dose of defending former President Donald Trump. However, the long-shot candidate has attempted to put crypto regulation at the heart of his hands-off government vision.
In his “Three Freedoms Framework” for crypto policy, Ramaswamy advocates for a broad safe harbor exemption from securities laws for newly launched cryptocurrencies, an end to “regulation by enforcement”, along with strict limitations on the SEC’s ability to dictate how cryptocurrencies are classified and regulated. He pledges to slash bureaucratic red tape and revoke any crypto regulations that fail to hold up to judicial scrutiny, as well as revoke any crypto rules not clearly authorized by Congress, anticipating a 75% reduction of federal regulators overseeing digital assets.
Ramaswamy also strongly opposes burdensome surveillance policies that restrict self-hosted crypto wallets, arguing that enforcing laws against criminal activity is far preferable to violating civil liberties through overregulation.
The upcoming forum will shed a critical light on where candidates stand, regardless of the fact that most Americans are largely distrustful of the technology , and the forum will likely change few votes. All eyes will be on Ramaswamy as he looks to cement himself as the loudest voice calling for unfettered crypto innovation.
Although, if current polls will be right, Ramaswamy looks set for a blow-out defeat against his rival in the race, Donald Trump. According to FiveThirtyEight , the 39-year-old entrepreneur is currently at 5%, compared to Trump’s overwhelming lead of 60%. However, with Ramaswamy keen to defend Trump at every turn, he is widely seen as a cabinet pick were Trump to reenter the White House.
With wildcards like Donald Trump and crypto-friendly candidates such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. invited but not yet confirmed for the event—and unlikely to attend—there is still much uncertainty around exactly who will take the stage on December 11th.
What we do know is that Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, and Dean Phillips, a Democrat Congressman from Minnesota who has even less chance of becoming President than Ramaswamy, will join the latter. A fact that makes the crypto forum a largely academic pursuit. According to Coinbase’s own public policy portal, Phillips is currently “unclear” on crypto regulation. To date, Hutchinson has also said very little about the technology.