Candidates for the Republican nomination for President of the United States will take the stage in Milwaukee on August 23 for the first debate of the Presidential race. Barring unforeseen developments, it is shaping up to be the most-pro crypto debate lineup in United States history.
Currently, Vivek Ramaswamy, an improbable entrant with no previous political experience, is among the most crypto-friendly. The biotech entrepreneur has even accused his debate rival, popular Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, of having a shallow understanding of crypto.
Vivek Ramaswamy: The Most Pro-Bitcoin Presidential Debater?
In a CBS News interview in May, Ramaswamy offered a sweeping vision of a presidency riding high on Bitcoin’s performance.
“The thriving Bitcoin universe should actually better empower me to do what I want to do as the US President. [That is] to stabilize the US dollar as a unit of measurement and put the Federal Reserve back in its place with that as its single mandate,” he said.
According to the same CBS News story, Ramaswamy would put an end to years of legal wrangling by bluntly declaring that Bitcoin is not a security. Its classification as such has been at the heart of furious legal battles between the SEC and exchanges such as Ripple and Coinbase.
In addition to the bullish rhetoric, Ramaswamy has been accepting donations in Bitcoin since May of this year.
However, the tech guru is not a blind cheerleader for crypto. In a podcast episode available on the campaign website, Ramaswamy acknowledged crypto’s complexities. Including how North Korea uses digital currency to fund its ballistic missile program.
Even so, Ramaswamy’s close identification with fintech and digital innovation is a promising sign. One that may well endear him to sophisticated investors fed up with the tone of guidance under Gary Gensler’s SEC.
DeSantis Brands Himself as Pro-Crypto
Governor DeSantis, on the other hand, has been a pro-crypto executive from the Governor’s mansion. In June 2021, he signed a bill that established Florida’s first regulatory framework for digital currencies.
With one pen stroke, the popular governor made Florida one of the most crypto-friendly states in the Union.
In a bungled June 24 Twitter Spaces announcing his candidacy, DeSantis said, “The current regime, clearly, has it out for Bitcoin.” He went on to say that if the Biden administration had another four years, “they’ll probably end up killing it.”
The governor continued:
“I just do not have the itch to have to control everything that people may be doing in this space. . . . Bitcoin represents a threat to them. They’re trying to regulate it out of existence.”
DeSantis has also been vocally anti-CBDC, even passing a law outlawing them in the state of Florida.
Then there is the elephant in the room, de-facto party leader and former President Donald Trump. It would be hard to name a more divisive figure in American politics. And this holds true within the specific context of cryptocurrency.
The 77-year-old has had a mixed relationship with crypto in the past. He previously criticized the technology, saying it wasn’t “real money” and its value was based on “thin air.”
However, in his post-Presidential career, he has launched a controversial collection of Trump-themed NFTs.
It is not clear that Trump will take part in the debate. An NBC News report has suggested he might well sit it out. With such a commanding lead in the polls, there looks to be little impact on his chances of clinching the nomination.
Trump has a generally pro-business stance. But, as with his previous runs, he has so far announced very actual few policies.
Former Vice President Pence May Not Debate
This cycle, the Republican National Committee implemented new debate criteria to prevent a repeat of the chaotic 2016 debates. Party grandees have drawn up rules requiring 1% support in three national polls and 40,000 individual donations.
So far, besides Ramaswamy, DeSantis, and Trump, those qualifying include former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.
According to multiple reports, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has also made the cut after offering $20 gift cards to the first 50,000 donors.
Among popular figures in US politics, the odd man out is former Vice President Mike Pence. He has relatively strong polling numbers, but does not yet meet the donor threshold.
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