On the day that he hosted a large group of his social media supporters at the White House, President Donald Trump sent a series of tweets about… Bitcoin.
“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,” the president tweeted on Thursday night. “Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity….”
Trump went on to further denounce Libra, the planned crytocurrency that Facebook plans to introduce.
“If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations,” the president said in a subsequent Twitter message.
This is believed to be the first time that Trump has commented about Bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency whose history dates back prior to his presidency. The shot at Facebook is a continuation of the president’s criticism of Silicon Valley and social media platforms, which was a continuing theme during the social media summit on Thursday, per Vox.
Bitcoin and other currencies like it are favored by those who wish to do business outside of the centralized banking system, while others have purchased Bitcoins as an investment play, as the price has mostly risen over the years.
Per The Verge, some of Trump’s supporters on the right are outspoken Bitcoin fans, and therefore are disappointed in the president for taking such a stance.
The social media platform Gab, which is favored by the alt-right and supports use of Bitcoin after its banishment from some payment-processing services, assailed the decision, blaming it on Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner.
“Man, the Kushner Presidency is really starting to be a drag,” Gab’s Twitter account said, while quoting Trump’s Bitcoin tweet.
Mike Cernovich, the Trump-supporting conservative social media personality who is also a longtime Bitcoin evangelist, tweeted that the Bitcoin stance is “a major mistake on your part and shows a lack of vision!”
Bitcoin is the most anti-fragile asset in the world https://t.co/WweUBMTy9r
— Pomp ???? (@APompliano) July 12, 2019
However, others in the Bitcoin world were thankful that the president brought attention to the cryptocurrency at all. That was the reaction of Brian Armstrong, CEO and co-founder of digital currency exchange Coinbase, who rejoiced on Twitter after Trump’s tweets.
“Achievement unlocked,” Armstrong said Thursday. “I dreamt about a sitting U.S. president needing to respond to growing cryptocurrency usage years ago.”
It’s unclear what the policy implications will be of Trump’s criticism of Bitcoin.