Donald Trump’s time as U.S. president has been filled with events and talking points that illustrate the utility a digital, apolitical money like Bitcoin.
While the precursor to this post covered Trump’s policies and talking points that have been beneficial for the Bitcoin price, this post will cover Bitcoin-related events that directly involve the president in one way or another.
Most recently, Trump tweeted about his dislike for Bitcoin, but it appears members of Congress are now realizing they wouldn’t be able to implement a ban on the crypto asset.
Every time there is a major event that involves Bitcoin in some way, it’s another chance for more people to learn about the value of the peer-to-peer digital cash system.
- Trump and Russia
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) was hacked during the 2016 election cycle, allegedly at the hands of hackers associated with a branch of Russian intelligence. Email records that were a part of the hack were eventually published by WikiLeaks, which has a long and storied history with Bitcoin.
The DNC emails revealed a preference for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders amongst the leaders of the DNC. One obvious beneficiary of all of this was Donald Trump, as the contents of the emails fed into his “Crooked Hillary” narrative.
The U.S. Department of Justice eventually revealed a Bitcoin connection to the DNC hack in the form of an allegation that the Russian government used the digital currency to fund some of its activities related to the attack. Specifically, a Russian hacking team is said to have used Bitcoin to make payments related to the operation, in addition to mining the cryptocurrency.
As a side note, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has also said he used Bitcoin to pay for servers as he was providing documents to journalists back in 2013.
There was also the story of Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law, receiving an email threatening to release the president’s tax returns unless a ransom of 52 Bitcoin was paid. The sender of the email was impersonating the hacker or hackers behind the DNC hack.
- Cambridge Analytica
During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Trump campaign worked with political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which is most well-known as the company that was able to gain access to the personal data of millions of American Facebook users without their consent. Last year, executives at the company were caught bragging about coming up with the “Crooked Hillary” campaign during Trump’s run for the presidency.
The whole Cambridge Analytica scandal has made the general public more conscious about how much of their personal data is accessible to governments and corporations via the internet. Much like limiting what sort of data is put in the hands of Google, Facebook, and other tech giants, part of Bitcoin’s selling point is limiting the level of access and control large institutions have over one’s finances.
In other words, more interest in online privacy and protecting personal data is good for Bitcoin.
As an added bonus, former Cambridge Analytica executive Brittany Kaiser revealed that she once donated to Wikileaks via Bitcoin in the new Netflix documentary The Great Hack.
- Darknet Market Crackdowns
A third incident that connects Trump with Bitcoin is his focus on shutting down various darknet markets. According to former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Trump ordered various law enforcement agencies to go after “internet transnational criminal organizations” like AlphaBay and Hansa.
Much like Senator Charles Schumer’s public outrage over Bitcoin and Silk Road back in 2011, these sorts of media spotlights on the darknet markets tend to bring more attention to the fact that people can get drugs delivered to their homes at the click of a button — almost as easily as ordering normal items from Amazon.
Indeed, the data shows that darknet market activity has continued to grow since the AlphaBay and Hansa shutdowns in 2017.
Whether it’s Russia’s election meddling and darknet market crackdowns illustrating Bitcoin’s utility or the Cambridge Analytica scandal simply making internet users think more deeply about their online activities, President Trump has found himself connected to some of the biggest Bitcoin-related stories over the past few years.
And as Trump’s own book The Art of the Deal claims, bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all.