Expert: Trump’s Crypto-Bashing Staff Is Duping Him on Bitcoin

Journalist:
July 12, 2019

Bitcoin advocate Caitlin Long unleashed an impassioned tweet storm in reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump’s anti-crypto remarks. Long says Trump is being misled by his staff and argued that crypto could function within the law — despite what he fears.

Long: Trump’s Staff Is Misleading Him on Bitcoin

In an unexpected series of tweets, Trump declared that he is not a fan of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Trump explained that crypto is “not money,” and took issue with bitcoin’s extreme volatility. Moreover, he said its value is “based on thin air.”

Trump also expressed concern that virtual currencies could be used to facilitate crimes, such as drug trafficking.

Trump also dissed Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, saying it will have “little standing or dependability.”

Caitlin Long, a former Wall Street executive-turned-blockchain-advocate, reacted by urging Trump to reconsider his anti-crypto positions.

Long, the co-founder of the Wyoming Blockchain Coalition, tweeted that Wyoming “welcomes law-abiding crypto companies and created a new type of bank charter to allow them to comply with the law.”

Long insists that Trump is wrong in opposing bitcoin, saying his anti-crypto positions are the result of bad advice.

“The crypto genie can’t be put back in the bottle and if the US fights this, we will simply be bypassed by other countries that are welcoming it. You are just wrong on this…Your staff isn’t giving you good advice.”

Trumps Administration Contains Many Pro-Crypto Officials

President Trump’s anti-bitcoin stance is surprising since he has appointed many top-level officials who are pro-crypto. For instance, Mick Mulvaney — the acting White House chief of staff — is a longtime crypto fan.

Similarly, SEC commissioner Hester Peirce is a vocal bitcoin proponent. As CCN reported, Peirce rebuked the SEC last month, saying it should have approved a bitcoin ETF last year. The industry affectionately nicknamed Peirce “Crypto Mom” because of her embrace of digital currencies.

Despite Trump’s anti-crypto statements, many are encouraged that the U.S. president even acknowledged bitcoin in the first place. They say this is an essential step toward mainstreaming crypto, and noted that there is ample opportunity to change Trump’s mind.

Crypto-Bashing Is a Bipartisan Game

Ironically, by opposing bitcoin, Trump joins a growing chorus of Trump-hating Democratic lawmakers who want to eradicate crypto.

In May 2019, Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman urged his colleagues to pass a law that would ban cryptocurrencies in the United States.

“I look for colleagues to join with me in introducing a bill to outlaw cryptocurrency purchases by Americans, so that we nip this in the bud.”

Like others who oppose bitcoin, Sherman says cryptocurrencies are a direct threat to the U.S. dollar and the rule of law.

“Whether it is to disempower our foreign policy, our tax collection enforcement or traditional law enforcement, the advantage of crypto over sovereign currency is solely to aid in the disempowerment of the United States and the rule of law.”

“The worldwide use of the U.S. dollar strengthens the U.S. economy and allows us to sanction rogue nations. Those desperate to weaken the U.S. pray for a crypto-alternative to the U.S. dollar.”

Similarly, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters — the chair of the House Financial Services Committee — demanded that Facebook suspend work on its Libra coin.

Specifically, Waters says she’s worried about the lack of regulatory oversight and the risks that cryptocurrencies pose to “endanger U.S. and global financial stability.”

However, crypto evangelists like Abra CEO Bill Barhydt say the U.S. government cannot ban crypto because it raises a First Amendment issue.

“We don’t hear enough of a narrative around Bitcoin as free speech. And free speech needs to be a protected human right across the board. You can’t prevent people from holding ones and zeros on a device in their pocket. That ship has sailed.”

Last modified (UTC): July 20, 2019 13:52

Samantha Chang @Samantha_Chang

Samantha Chang is a New York City-based financial editor who writes about crypto and business at . She is a law school grad and an alum of the University of Pennsylvania. You can reach her on Twitter at or email her at schang121@juno.com.