The missed opportunity in the presidential debate – ignoring crypto

June 28, 2024
Nigel Green

THE presidential debate last night between Donald Trump and Joe Biden was highly anticipated, with many speculating whether Bitcoin and cryptocurrency would make it into the discussion.

However, as the debate continued, it became evident that neither candidate was going to touch on these emerging digital assets or blockchain technology.

This omission is not just surprising; it represents a significant missed opportunity, especially for Trump, who has positioned himself as the pro-Bitcoin candidate.

The absence of any discussion on crypto and blockchain technology in the debate overlooks a rapidly growing and highly engaged voter demographic.

Cryptocurrencies have moved from being a niche interest to a mainstream financial asset class, with millions of Americans now investing in them.

According to a recent survey, nearly one in ten Americans owns some form of crypto. This statistic is even more pronounced among younger voters, who are not only investing but are also deeply interested in the tech and economic implications of these digital assets.

Ignoring such a significant and engaged voter base is a strategic misstep.

For many, cryptocurrencies represent more than just an investment; they embody a vision of financial freedom, technological innovation, and decentralization.

Voters who are passionate about cryptocurrencies are looking for leaders who understand and advocate for clear and fair regulation, innovation, and integration of these technologies into the broader financial system.

Political influence of cryptocurrency enthusiasts

Crypto enthusiasts are not just passive investors; they are active participants in the political process. Many are vocal on social media, influence public opinion, and contribute to political campaigns.

The community has demonstrated a willingness to support candidates who advocate for favourable crypto policies.

Lat week, cryptocurrency billionaire tycoons the Winklevoss twins have each donated $1m in Bitcoin to Donald Trump’s campaign and pledged to vote for the former president in November, claiming Joe Biden had “openly declared war against crypto”.

Trump is “pro-Bitcoin, pro-crypto, pro-business”, Cameron Winklevoss declared on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday. “And he will put an end to the Biden Administration’s war on crypto.”

For Trump, who has previously shown a pro-Bitcoin stance, the debate was a missed chance to solidify his support among these influential donors and voters.

Economic and policy implications

The debate’s neglect of crypto ignores their profound economic and political implications.

Cryptocurrencies provide a decentralized alternative to traditional banking systems, offering greater financial inclusion and empowerment. They facilitate secure, low-cost transactions across borders, eliminating the need for intermediaries.

In today’s globalised economy, where remittances are vital for many families, this capability is particularly significant.

Politically, digital currencies epitomise the shift towards decentralization and democratization of finance. They offer a safeguard against government overreach and inflationary policies by providing an alternative store of value not controlled by central banks. In countries with unstable economies and high inflation rates, many of whose citizens have relocated to the US, cryptocurrencies have already served as a financial lifeline for many individuals.

From a policy perspective, the absence of any discussion around cryptocurrency is a glaring omission. Several critical issues need addressing including regulations, taxation, integration into the traditional financial system, and security and fraud.

Integration with Traditional Financial Systems: Developing frameworks for integrating cryptocurrencies with traditional financial systems can enhance their utility and acceptance.

Trump’s oversight

For Donald Trump, the omission of crypto from the debate was a particularly significant missed opportunity. As the pro-Bitcoin candidate, Trump could have capitalised on this platform to reinforce his stance and connect with a technologically savvy and economically forward-thinking voter base.

By failing to highlight his support for Bitcoin and blockchain technology, Trump missed the chance to differentiate himself from Biden and rally the growing community of crypto enthusiasts.

It’s worthing noting that the price of Bitcoin jumped by as much as 1.1% as the debate began.

This surge indicates that investors are keenly aware of the implications of a pro-crypto administration.

Nigel Green, deVere Group CEO and founder