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Why 2024 Is the Most Important Election Year in the History of Bitcoin

Last Updated July 9, 2024 11:00 AM
Last Updated July 9, 2024 11:00 AM
By Mauricio Di Bartolomeo
Verified by Ana Alexandre
Key Takeaways
  • 2024 is shaping to be a pivotal year for the crypto industry, with many candidates recognizing its growing influence and importance.
  • We can expect more candidates to adjust their platforms to appeal to the growing crypto-savvy electorate.
  • Some upcoming elections will set the tone for how digital assets are regulated for years to come.

2024 is one of the biggest election years in recorded history, with 64 countries, 49% of the planet’s population, participating in one. While every election cycle is different, there’s one particular issue that seems to be rewarding those politicians who embrace it, and punishing those who don’t: cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC).

This has already become evident in parts of the world that understand this technology best: Latin America, with pro-Bitcoin candidates sweeping elections in both El Salvador and Argentina.

Many of the remaining elections are happening in key regions for Bitcoin and crypto adoption. As candidates are seeing the opinion polls come back, many are quickly pivoting their campaigns to embrace the technology in an effort to get the support of a cash-rich industry, and their votes!

While traditional stock investing only cares about elections in one country, digital assets, and Bitcoin are global technologies, so all elections matter. This is particularly important for a few of the remaining elections, and has become a central issue in the U.S . election race.

Elections matter for digital assets

Beyond Bitcoin and digital assets, election years are good for asset prices, generally speaking. For example, a report  from Morgan Stanley explains that of the 23 U.S. elections that have been held since the S&P 500 Index began, 83% have had a net positive performance on market performance, with the average return being +11.28%.

This is largely believed to be tied to the fact that elections usually encourage dynamic market changes, implying incentives for growth.

Many of these elections will set the tone for how billions are legally allowed to engage with digital assets for years to come. In some countries, Bitcoin and crypto are divided, with one political party in favor, and another one opposed to it.

However, given the recent setbacks that anti-crypto politicians have seen recently, most are pivoting in support. The best possible outcome is for Bitcoin and crypto legislation to get bipartisan support.

Elections and opinion polls year-to-date speak loud and clear: people want access to better money. Since every politician wants to be reelected, they have every reason to understand the space, talk to industry leaders, and get involved.

While it’s impossible to say who is truly engaged and who is blowing smoke based on promises, 2024’s election will provide a platform for numerous candidates and parties to lay out their plans in front of voters, who will then decide if the politicians get a chance to execute. Any advocates of the industry should be paying attention.

The battleground in the U.S.

Until recently, both political frontrunners in the United States had been anywhere from silent to negative on the topic. The Biden Administration and the SEC have traditionally  been touting an “Anti-Crypto Army” for over a year, though recent events and the passing of multiple crypto ETFs show signs of a change of heart.

Recently, multiple Democratic Members in both the Congress and Senate voted  to repeal order SAB 121, which imposes considerable restrictions on financial institutions that will engage with Bitcoin.

While this development was an encouraging step in signaling that Democrats were willing to work with the industry, Democratic President Joe Biden swiftly vetoed the repeal, signaling that he would continue to stand in the way even if his party wanted to proceed.

Then there’s former President and current Republican candidate Donald Trump, who recently positioned  himself as a “champion for cryptocurrency” at a San Francisco fundraiser. While supporters of Trump have taken this to mean that he is the true “crypto president,” he has yet to outline any specific policies he would enact if he were elected other than pardoning Ross William Ulbricht and releasing him from prison, a cause that Bitcoiners have been fighting for years.

It was recently reported  that top U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase has donated $25 million to a super PAC run by Fairshake, adding to the $100+ million raised by Ripple, a16z, and others. Fairshake is an organization that supports candidates committed to securing the United States as the home to innovators building the next generation of the internet.

The money raised will be used to purchase advertising space and lobby in favor of campaigns that support crypto-friendly congressional candidates in upcoming state primaries.

The rest of the world

It’s a big world outside of the U.S., so regardless of what happens in November, a series of recent and upcoming global elections will impact Bitcoin and digital assets worldwide.

Let’s take El Salvador as a quick case study. The tiny Central American nation held an election in which pro-Bitcoin candidate Nayib Bukele easily won  re-election, collecting 85% of the democratic vote (a world record). This is the same president who made Bitcoin a legal currency in the country.

Javier Milei in Argentina also ran on a pro-Bitcoin and pro-crypto campaign and won the presidential elections just before the start of the year, in November 2023. So far, Argentina’s inflation rate has dropped for five straight months . Not only are pro-bitcoin candidates winning, they are delivering.

Then, there’s the upcoming elections in my home country of Venezuela on July 28. The existing regime under Nicolás Maduro has banned  cryptocurrency mining in the nation. Still, the opposition candidate, Edmundo González Urrutia from Maria Corina Machado’s party, is openly pro-cryptocurrency and would likely reverse this decision.

Currently, he is leading  the incumbent president in the polls by about 6:1. However, Maduro has a history of not allowing for free and fair elections, banning his political rivals from running and using government assets to openly campaign.

This makes the chances of Venezuela regaining its democracy slim, but if anyone has a shot at the unthinkable, it’s Machado and Urrutia. Venezuela, a country crippled by hyperinflation, has made excellent use of cryptocurrencies in lieu of a stable national currency, and as a cheaper way of remitting funds from overseas, even despite the regime’s efforts to villainize the industry.

On the other side of the globe, the European Union has been developing its “Markets in Crypto Assets” (MiCA) regulatory framework. While this framework is being promoted by the incumbent progressive-majority parliament, the recent election results  could lead to delays or changes to the proposed MiCA implementation. This could mean slower overall acceptance of digital assets across the entire jurisdiction.

It’s also important to note that the United Kingdom held a snap election on July 4, in which the Conservatives lost to the Labour Party, ending a 14-year streak of power. The change of power could, therefore, reinvigorate the discussion and see developments emerge for digital asset legislation and integration.

These highlighted elections represent some of the most prominent battlefronts for Bitcoin regulation and adoption. The outcomes will set the tone for how billions of people will interact with Bitcoin and digital assets, directly impacting future opportunities and prosperity globally.

Where are we going?

The high number of national elections in 2024 makes this a pivotal time for political support around Bitcoin and digital assets. If some of the more pro-crypto candidates win, the coming years will accelerate new growth, development, and acceptance for this asset class.

As with every technological revolution, some countries will run towards change and embrace opportunity, and others will reject it and miss out. If, or rather, when people understand Bitcoin and digital assets better, it will reward those who embraced it handsomely. Those who don’t will be left behind, playing catch up.

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