GOP Candidates Reveal Stances on Bitcoin at Debate


Eight Republican candidates are set to take the debate stage tonight as the early 2024 presidential election cycle reaches a pivotal point. Former President and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump—who owns some Ethereum and has his own NFT collection—will not be present, instead opting for a pre-recorded interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Twitter. Trump has also previously expressed his disfavour of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the same platform. Where do the other candidates stand?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been a vocal advocate of Bitcoin since announcing his candidacy alongside Tesla CEO and Twitter owner Elon Musk. He has stated that Bitcoin is the only form of currency that the government does not control, and has also criticised central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) as a massive transfer of power from individuals to a central authority. He has taken action to prevent the introduction of digital dollars into Florida.

Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy was also a speaker at a Bitcoin conference in Miami in May, where he stated that Thomas Jefferson would have been mining for Bitcoin today. During his speech, Ramaswamy emphasised that Bitcoin is not a security, lambasted the Federal Reserve for trying to play “financial god,” and criticised the Biden’s administration proposed 30% excise tax on crypto mining. Ramaswamy has also stated that he is the only candidate with enough knowledge to talk about Bitcoin intelligently, and has accused DeSantis of adopting many aspects of his pro-Bitcoin and anti-CBDC stance. He got a thumbs up from Elon Musk earlier this week, who called him “a very promising candidate.”

South Carolina Senator Tim Scott has established himself as supportive of crypto regulation, being a member of the Senate’s Financial Innovation Caucus and having co-sponsored the Equal Opportunity for All Investors Act. Scott has also called out Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler for his decision not to attend a Senate Banking Committee hearing devoted to digital assets, as well as asking why the SEC had not taken action against FTX prior to its collapse last November.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has not been a vocal proponent of Bitcoin on the campaign trail, however he did comment on the construction of a data center in his state last year, noting North Dakota’s emergence as a hub for crypto mining.

Several candidates set to take the stage on Wednesday do not appear to have issued public comments about cryptocurrency or Bitcoin. These are former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and former Vice President Mike Pence.

Miami’s pro-crypto Mayor Francis Suarez did not qualify for the upcoming debate, after erroneously claiming he did a week before. In an interview with The Block, Suarez said he would potentially take his salary in Bitcoin as president, something he already does as Miami’s mayor, as well as accepting Bitcoin transactions. He believes it is important for a president to encourage generational innovation and that alternative assets like crypto are good for the United States.

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