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2020 Elections: Donald Trump’s Views on Crypto

by Matthew Harris
, 2020 Elections: Donald Trump’s Views on Crypto

With the 2020 elections already stirring emotions on all sides of the dice and multiple cryptocurrencies enjoying a strong Q1 and promising start to Q2, it has been a bit of a surprise that Trump hasn’t solidified his stance on the industry.

After last year’s executive order establishing a Task Force on Market Integrity and Consumer Fraud with a mandate of providing “guidance for the investigation and prosecution” for a long list of fraud types including cybercrime and “digital currency fraud,” Trump appeared to be setting the groundwork for multiple agencies to take a longer and harder look at the industry. The Task Force includes the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Securities and Exchange Commission along with representatives from the FBI and DOJ.

However, almost a year later there has been virtually nil from either the Task Force or the President. Trump has been fairly mum on the subject throughout both his candidacy and first term but when you take a look at the possible reasons for the silence, it might not be so surprising after all.

There has long been speculation of a close personal relationship between the President and Ripple board member Ken Kurson, who has been very vocal on his views of SEC classification for XRP. Former Trump Senior Counselor, Steve Bannon, spoke in Europe last year about the significance of blockchain technology and though he left the administration over two years ago, it’s quite possible that Bannon may have had some influence on the President’s thinking regarding cryptocurrency.

U.S. sanctions are in place on multiple countries, including: Iran, Venezuela, Russia and North Korea which just had a ship seized Thursday that is suspected of helping the rouge nation skirt sanctions. Additionally, the regime, officially known as the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea, has long been suspected of using cryptocurrency to evade U.S. sanctions, but whether the lack of Presidential condemnation is due to the professed mutual “love” between the two leaders or perhaps Task Force investigations that will eventually fall under “Executive Privilege,” only time will tell.

One thing that is almost certain to drive the President into a heated frenzy is the use of cryptocurrency to avoid government monitored channels of sending money across borders in order to bypass his proposed remittance tax on money sent home from people illegally living in the U.S.

Since news broke earlier this year regarding the proposed tax, several South American countries with heavy U.S immigration are reporting record levels of Bitcoin trading and peer-to-peer exchange platforms are showing regional increases that reflect these reports as well. Since the inception of crypto it has been touted as being a cheaper and faster alternative to sending money across borders and with the administration’s push against immigration, a remittance tax could push more of the world’s population to various cryptocurrencies.

Of course, it could be really, really difficult and possibly rather embarrassing for the President to take a hard stance against tax dodging at this point in time. With the recent N.Y. Times investigation regarding his reported massive losses and lack of paying any taxes for at least 8 years, raising cain over a few bucks from hard working immigrants, albeit ones here illegally, might garner him a laugh… or 300 million.

At this point, out of the candidates that have announced their 2020 Presidential run, only a couple have even mentioned cryptocurrency in any meaningful way. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has called crypto “easy to steal” and voiced concerns over lax regulation leading to fraud and consumers getting hurt, but she hasn’t been entirely negative and was quoted late last year in Forbes as saying, “the challenge is how to nurture the productive aspects of crypto with protecting consumers.”

I could only find one that is accepting digital currency donations at this point but of course there’s a lot of race left and a whole ton of people with their name still in the hat, so in all truthfulness I only dug so far.

While there’s not much “on the record” from Trump or his rivals at this point, the near future could be interesting as the Task Force moves forward and the administration continues to pursue sanctions and taxes that get thwarted at almost every turn.

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