Cryptocurrencies have always been regarded with skepticism and suspicion ever since Bitcoin started hitting mainstream news. It has gained more momentum and support around the world but, unsurprisingly, governments are more cautious about officially acknowledging the technology. The latest to join those voices is none other than US president Donald Trump who, in a series of tweets, expressed his dislike of Bitcoin and its kin and also took the opportunity to bring up Facebook’s new Libra “virtual currency”.
Politicians often carry a stereotype of being clueless about modern technologies that it often comes as a surprise when one does speak about them. Given his fame and infamy, Trump’s tweets about one of the most confusing developments in financial technology come almost as a shock. It doesn’t help that it came pretty much out of the blue and unprovoked by any recent event.
A not so recent event, however, was Facebook’s announcement of Libra, it’s own attempt at cryptocurrency. Trump warned that if Facebook wants to become a bank, it has to play by standard and non-virtual banking regulations and apply for a banking charter. The alternative would be to update banking laws to make provisions for the new breed of cryptocurrencies.
Trump’s seemingly unprovoked statements may have been “inspired” by the recent White House meeting on social media that didn’t include the biggest social media networks in the world. Undoubtedly, Facebook’s name came up along with its latest big news and how it could disrupt the market. Trump also took the opportunity to emphasize the real US dollar that’s stronger and more dominant than ever.
Ironically, it seems that Trump may have offended some camps that would normally cheer for his utterances. Cryptocurrencies have become the refuge of certain groups who have been banned from more established networks and sites for white supremacist and neo-Nazist sentiments.