Donald J. Trump is a man as flashy as a Vegas strip, as varied as the denominations of the US Dollar bills he so adores. He hasn’t said much about bitcoin, but he’s been asked about it a number of times and of course, everyone wants to know what presidents and rich guys think about bitcoin.
Most know him as the former President of the United States, a Twitter aficionado, a real estate tycoon, and a reality TV star who never shies away from the spotlight. Yet, there’s an aspect of Trump that doesn’t often make the headlines – his intriguing stance on Bitcoin.
In the world of Trump, every problem is just another opportunity to say what’s on his mind.
What Does Donald Trump Think About Bitcoin?
Donald Trump’s relationship with Bitcoin is somewhat like a plot twist in a reality show – brash, and undeniably entertaining, but ultimately of little value. He’s just one man, and the great thing about bitcoin is no matter how much money you have, you can’t tell me what kind of bitcoin software to run on my node. Even if you’re the president of the United States, you can’t make more than 21 million bitcoin.
Yet, for us Bitcoiners, it’s a topic worth delving into. When a celebrity or politician of any ilk has an opinion on bitcoin, it’s always worth looking at it through a fascinating mix of tech, finance, and history.
Trump’s a savvy businessman. He’s made billions in real estate, proving that he knows a thing or two about value and investment. When it comes to Bitcoin, however, he’s quite dismissive.
Trump channels that old-school Wall Street/Keynesian vibe, clinging onto the traditional notion of money while the world moves around him. He believes strongly in US Dollar hegemony and tends to dismiss anything that stands to challenge it. Bitcoin, in his view, is just another upstart trying to upset the apple cart.
Trump’s Love Letter to the US Dollar and Breakup Note to Bitcoin
Donald Trump, the billionaire former President, is seldom short of opinions, but when it comes to Bitcoin, his commentary has been conspicuously sparse.
Given his background, one might anticipate Trump’s allegiance to the US Dollar, the reigning global standard currency, and his accompanying skepticism towards anything that might upset the established order.
Trump’s dollar devotion came to the fore in an interview with Fox Business. On being queried about his stance on Bitcoin and potential investments, Trump was unequivocal in his response:
Bitcoin, it just seems like a scam, I don’t like it because it’s another currency competing against the dollar.
But Trump’s correspondence with the world of Bitcoin didn’t stop at a dismissive critique.
In another exchange with Fox Business, he penned a veritable dismissal letter to Bitcoin, warning of the dangers it poses to the monopoly of US currency:
The currency of this world should be the dollar. And I don’t think we should have all of the Bitcoins of the world out there. I think they should regulate them very, very high.
And who could forget his infamous Twitter commentary on Bitcoin, in which he declared:
I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity.
Bitcoin Bad. NFTs Good.
In an intriguing turn of events, Melania Trump, marking the 13th anniversary of the Bitcoin Genesis Block, broadcasted a markedly different sentiment via Twitter:
It is widely reported that Bitcoin’s market cap exceeds USD$1 Trillion. Today marks the 13th anniversary of the Bitcoin Genesis Block. Happy Anniversary, #SatoshiNakamoto #MelaniaNFT.
Whether this acknowledgment of Bitcoin’s financial clout is a genuine endorsement or merely a maneuver to publicize her POTUS NFT auction, it stands in stark contrast to her husband’s viewpoint. Though we can only guess how that conversation went in the Trump household, Trump eventually launched his own NFT collection, so Melania’s NFTs must have been profitable.
Trump’s “Unpresidented” Bitcoin Opinions Dissected
Donald Trump’s public pronouncements on Bitcoin are admittedly scant. Yet, as with any high-profile personality whose words wield influence, it’s vital to dissect his viewpoints and sift through the layers of rhetoric.
Let’s take a thorough look into Trump’s thoughts on Bitcoin and ascertain some facts from his discourse.
Can Bitcoin Be Banned?
When Donald Trump dropped the bombshell that Bitcoin should be “regulated very high,” it set tongues wagging. Would he really try to ban Bitcoin altogether?
Is banning Bitcoin even a plausible scenario? And how have other countries around the globe handled this question?
First off, let’s get something straight about Bitcoin – it’s a decentralized system. What that means is that there’s no big boss, no central authority like a bank or government calling the shots.
Instead, you’ve got network of thousands of nodes verifying transactions, all recorded on a public ledger known as the blockchain. In a nutshell, no one’s holding all the reins here.
What Would A Bitcoin Ban Even Look Like?
Given this, the idea of “banning” Bitcoin gets a little murky. Sure, a government can tell regulated financial institutions to steer clear of Bitcoin transactions, which would definitely put a damper on Joe and Jane Public’s ability to buy, sell, or trade Bitcoin. But shutting down the Bitcoin network itself?
You’d have an easier time trying to turn off the entire internet.
Even if a government managed to block access to Bitcoin exchanges, the die-hard fans and savvy tech folks could still get bitcoin. You can buy with P2P transactions. You can mine in your garage over Tor. You can run a node with a VPN. People
Let’s not forget that people smoked week for 50 years while it was illegal. If the incentive is great enough, people will do it even if it’s against the law.
Banning Bitcoin In China, India, Russia And Iran
On the world stage, there are definitely some countries that have tried to put the squeeze on Bitcoin. Take China, for instance – they’ve come down hard on Bitcoin, telling financial institutions to keep their hands off transactions and cracking down on mining activities.
But how effective are these bans really? Even with China’s tough stance, a whole lot of Bitcoin mining is still happening within its borders, showing just how tough it is to enforce a ban like this.
On the other end of the spectrum, some countries have rolled out the red carpet for Bitcoin. El Salvador, in a move that couldn’t be more different from the more restrictive nations, has made Bitcoin legal tender.
So, while a government could theoretically try to ban Bitcoin, the decentralized nature of the tech makes it a real challenge to pull off in practice.
Around the globe, we’re seeing a real mixed bag of approaches, highlighting the ongoing struggle to understand and regulate this groundbreaking technology.
After China’s crackdown on bitcoin mining, India made some noise about “banning cryptocurrencies” that never came to fruition. Russia banned crypto “payments” for citizens, but not for institutions, nor bitcoin mining, nor bitcoin investing. Iran attempted to ban mining during some struggles with blackouts due to power shortages, but the ban was eventually lifted.
We see over and over again, fiery rhetoric that goes nowhere, attempted bans that fail, and partial bans that eventually get lifted. If authoritarian regimes like China, Russia, and Iran can’t get it done, what makes you think we could ever do it here in the bureaucratic and litigious West?
As for Trump’s suggestion of heavy Bitcoin regulation, it seems like he’s got one foot in the world of traditional monetary control without fully grasping the nuances of the technology behind Bitcoin.
Bitcoin Is Being Used When It’s Needed
Donald Trump might not be totally off base when he suggests Bitcoin could threaten the US Dollar’s dominance. Not to suggest he’s hit the bullseye, but there’s definitely a dart somewhere on the dartboard.
Innovation is bubbling globally as new mechanisms are being designed for transferring value that sidelines traditional banking infrastructure, namely bitcoin and stablecoins.
The decentralization of Bitcoin and its underlying technology, blockchain, allows for the movement of digital assets without an intermediary. Old school bankers are no longer the gatekeepers of the flows of money.
Right now, dollar dominance means US dominance. If any country wants to engage in global trade, they need dollars. With bitcoin, there’s an exit strategy. With all of these so-called alternative global currencies like the Chinese Yuan, or a commodity backed currency lead by the BRICS nations, there is still a leader to obey. With Bitcoin, there is a parallel system that doesn’t require trust in a leader. Bitcoin could enable countries at odds with the US to operate their economies outside the US-centric financial system for the first time.
Countries such as North Korea, Iran, and Venezuela have initiated blockchain technology explorations as a countermove to US financial power, seeking to bolster their resistance to sanctions. In the case of Venezuela, their Petro Dollar was a joke. In the case of North Korea using all sorts of crypto, soon enough those companies will fold under the weight of SEC regulations. In the end, Bitcoin is the only censorship resistant money that will survive.
No Global Currency Rules Forever
The US Dollar’s position of influence isn’t set in stone. Fast forward two to three decades, and we could see a world where Bitcoin overshadows US financial power, much like the dollar did to the British pound years ago.
Global currencies tend to last about 80-100 years, and the US is approaching its 110-year anniversary, depending on how you measure. Regardless, it’s coming up, and it doesn’t seem like much of a coincidence that the US is struggling to maintain its leadership on the global stage.
So, does Bitcoin pose a real threat to the dominance of the US Dollar? At this moment, not really. There’s no better alternative. But could it pose a threat in the future? It’s within the realm of possibility. A lot can change in 20 years.
Keep in mind that a switch from the global dollar system to the bitcoin standard doesn’t have to be instant, and doesn’t have to be black and white. There may be 50 years of transition. It’s just an idea to consider.
Bitcoin, Anonymity, and Crime
Donald Trump expressed concerns about Bitcoin potentially facilitating illegal activities. However, this criticism often misrepresents the anonymity of Bitcoin transactions.
The notion that Bitcoin is predominantly used for illegal activities is a lingering sentiment from the days of the online black market, The Silk Road.
While Bitcoin was indeed utilized on this platform, it’s crucial to understand that Bitcoin transactions are pseudonymous, not anonymous. Each transaction is linked to a unique identifier rather than a personal identity.
Although these identifiers obscure real-world identities, all actions on the blockchain are public and traceable.
Furthermore, when individuals purchase Bitcoin on exchanges, these platforms implement Know Your Customer (KYC) protocols, necessitating identification. As a result, buying Bitcoin isn’t entirely anonymous, and authorities can trace these transactions by requesting user information from the exchanges.
Criminals Use Cash Instead
Despite these facts, the argument that Bitcoin fosters illegal activities often overshadows a critical reality. 1) Only 1-3% of bitcoin transactions are used for illicit activity, and more importantly, 2) cash is still the principal vehicle for illicit activities globally.
Cash transactions provide genuine anonymity and are untraceable, final, and require no technical skill, making them the preferred method for those engaging in unlawful acts. So, the argument that Bitcoin encourages illegal activities is considerably weaker than it might initially seem, especially when juxtaposed with the ongoing role of cash in facilitating crime.
Beyond that, it’s important to consider that the job of law enforcement is to work within the system to catch criminals, not design a system that makes doing crimes impossible. If people want to use bitcoin to save and transact, then law enforcement is just going to have to put in the work and do their job rather than banning bitcoin.
The Real Reason The Elites Hate Bitcoin
One reason that the elites hate bitcoin is because they cannot control it. The only way to benefit from bitcoin is to buy some or contribute to the ecosystem by building something valuable.
With shitcoins and NFTs however, profiting is very possible. Simply launch your own token or NFT collection.
Oh, the irony, when Trump launched his own NFT collection in December of 2022. No doubt he made a killing on it, as it sold out in a day and was quite competitive. Though down from their highs, the current market cap is around $11,000,000. Not that Trump actually cares where the value is at now that the NFTs out of his hands and replaced with US dollars in his account.
You can see this dynamic play out with other aspects of the bigger crypto ecosystem, and it’s interesting to consider why it happens.
You Can’t Pump The Price of Bitcoin, But You Can Pump An NFT Collection
Remember when Bored Apes were featured on Jimmy Fallon’s late night talk show? Then Snoop Dogg and Eminem did a performance as their BAYC NFT characters? They were paid to do that. By a company. Directly profiting from the sales of these assets.
Why don’t you see bitcoin featured on late night TV or music award shows? Because there’s nobody getting paid. Nobody owns the bitcoin brand.
Bitcoin’s market cap is so huge that it’s unlikely even a massive public performance like the VMA’s would actually move the needle and bring in new investors. Even if you had a fat stack of bitcoin and wanted to manipulate the price, it would be extremely difficult to achieve that goal.
With small cap stuff like NFTs and utility tokens, you just need one viral day in social media and you can pump the price a few hundred percent, sell off your insider shares with the new found exit liquidity.
Just check out notable bitcoin hater Peter Schiff, who has spent more than a decade declaring that bitcoin has no value. Yet somehow, as soon as he found a way to profit directly from it, he seemed to soften his value system and is now advertising an NFT collection hosted on the bitcoin blockchain.
A Torrent of Reactions: The Bitcoin Community Responds to Trump
The impact of former President Trump’s perspective on Bitcoin may have been brief, yet the response it evoked from the Bitcoin community was anything but.
As it turns out, Trump’s tenure brought more to the table than just the hilarious Bitcoin meme “orange man bad, orange coin good”, his remarks sparked a series of reactions that proved just as golden.
When Trump questioned Bitcoin’s value and monetary legitimacy, George McDonaugh of NullTX drew a colorful comparison:
“Imagine inflating a balloon and releasing it. Notice how it zips around the room in erratic patterns? This is a fair representation of Donald Trump’s brain, and today, his brain decided to ponder on Bitcoin.”
McDonaugh went on to link this mindset to the U.S. economic situation, predicting that a reckoning was due, and when it came, “it will be something like Bitcoin that comes to the rescue.”
An intriguing academic and analytical response to Trump’s Bitcoin commentary originated from Germany’s Otto Beisheim School of Management, where researchers published a white paper demonstrating a correlation between Trump’s negative Bitcoin press and subsequent Bitcoin returns.
The conclusion of the study stated:
“We find that the sentiment of Trump’s tweets reasonably predicts Bitcoin’s returns, volatility, and trading volumes. The more negative Trump’s sentiment, the higher returns.”
Micah Winkelspecht, the founder of GemHQ, addressed Trump’s assertion that Bitcoin is based on “thin air” with a tweet:
Another Twitter user, HODL Be Thy Name, retorted with an image that conveyed an ironic sentiment in response to Trump’s tweet:
Out of all the criticism of Trump’s Bitcoin views, an affirmative nod from CryptoInvest via medium.com did emerge:
“Sorry crypto fans, but the dollar is still king.
For anyone who claims that the US dollar, as fiat currency, will collapse one day, and bitcoin will be the only tradable currency, think again. If the US dollar were to collapse, so would society.”
“President Donald Trump may be making a veiled threat towards Facebook, for its obvious censorship of conservatives, that the federal government will force cryptocurrencies to be regulated by banking laws.
If that happens, bitcoin is going to zero.”
Lastly, Bitcoin Magazine tweeted a pointed rebuttal:
Trump’s involvement with Bitcoin, albeit indirect and minimal, has been a noteworthy episode in the narrative, growing relevance in global finance and politics.
His controversial views have, in many ways, reinforced the convictions of Bitcoin advocates while also highlighting the ongoing debate surrounding the legitimacy and future of the technology.
Regardless of your personal opinions about him, it’s undeniable that his comments, though not always grounded in facts, provided a certain level of conversation surrounding Bitcoin – and as they say, all news is good news.
My Thoughts On Trump And Bitcoin
Trump obviously doesn’t know anything about how bitcoin works or why people want to use it, so his opinion is based around how he perceives the world to be, and how he imagines the future should be. In other words, he likes the way things are in regards to dollar dominance, so that how he wants the world to remain.
You can project whatever emotion you want on his statements, whether it be because he benefited financially from the dollar system, or because he’s a true American patriot fighting for Americans, but I think it’s fair to say he likes the dollar and he likes the power that comes along with the US being the global reserve currency.
His opinion of it is only valuable so far as it may influence his supporters, but even then, his supporters are not a monolith, and they will turn their back on him if its in their best interest to do so. They where pissed when he launched strikes against Syria in 2017. They hate that he supports the vaccine. Despite what you hear in the mainstream media, Trump supporters make up their own minds when something is deeply important to them.
In the end, Trump will likely have zero influence on bitcoin at any point moving forward. In fact, much like John McAfee he’s no stranger to flip-flopping on opinions when it benefits him. We’ve seen what he can do with NFTs, so there’s still time for him to become bitcoin’s biggest supporter. After all, the best way to win an election is to make your constituents wealthy.