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Bitcoin's Trump Card: Dividing Is The Wrong Move

Courtesy of Bitcoin magazine, Trump (left) with Bitcoin Magazine CEO David Bailey (right)

Ever since Donald Trump became more vocal in support of Bitcoin heading into this year’s Presidential campaign, I’ve been sitting with a wide range of emotions and concerns.

Outside of Bitcoin, as a left-leaning voter and vocal critic of Donald Trump, I have deep concerns with such an ego-centric, narcissistic character assuming power in the oval office again, not to mention the damage this could do to issues I deeply care about in the U.S. including a woman’s right to choose, reproductive rights, immigration, global affairs, and beyond.

I came into Bitcoin and began writing, running the Progressive Bitcoiner, and advocating for Bitcoin to those outside of the right leaning/libertarian bubble because I had great concerns about Bitcoin being perceived as “right wing” or politically polarizing. It’s open source code, digital peer-to-peer cash, not belonging to any one ideology or political party. I believe in its importance to radically improve our world, and the lives of millions and billions of people. Already from the left, campaigns like Greenpeace USA, Elizabeth Warren’s anti-crypto army, and beyond assume Bitcoin to be a haven for criminals and terrorists, climate denying fossil fuel tycoons, and only for the wealthy and wall street. Despite advances in data showing Bitcoin is one of the most, if not the most, sustainable industries on the planet, it’s growing list of human rights use-cases and more, appealing to progressives and the left about Bitcoin (yes Bitcoin specifically, not crypto) continues to be an uphill battle. What should we expect after years of Bitcoin’s loudest voices promoting various right leaning ideologies, encouraging books like the Bitcoin Standard, various right wing lifestyle maximalism tropes including carnivore diets, traditional family values, skepticism of science and climate science, and beyond.

Winklevoss brothers with Trump

The Trump campaign, and Bitcoiners openly donating to, engaging with, and stanning for Trump makes my job a lot harder. Metaphorically, we went from going fishing (regarding steady bitcoin adoption) to throwing a grenade in the water, without the slightest pause for how this may affect the bigger picture.

The reality is, post 2016 with the election of Donald Trump, and the doubling down of Hillary and the Democratic party calling his supports a “basket of deplorables,” (yes I’m quite critical of the left too!) our political polarization has skyrocketed, leaving most to feel politically homeless (some studies suggesting between 70 million to 100 million Americans).

The left has been corrupted by purity culture. If your view, means to an end, etc. has not been approved by The Left Regime (or you are not well versed on dozens of leftist philosophers and the latest theories), you’re out! Trump and bitcoiners aside, this is also why it’s so hard to get them to engage on bitcoin, because it’s not what their tribe uses, it’s right wing money (according to them).

The right has been overtaken by Trump and a party of valueless debauchery. Conservatives/republicans used to be values driven with actually policy and ideas, which I could agree or disagree with. Now it’s just complete chaos fueled and led by Trump, who has no political philosophy or value system, just ego.

Bitcoin should be a tool to cut through this noise. A tool that any ideology in this case can find useful and valuable. Instead, I’m deeply concerned the narrative may very well latch on to Trump-ism for the next several years, and beyond. Am I ultimately concerned about Bitcoin, its code, usefulness, use-cases, and beyond? Not for this Trump/political reason, no not necessarily (I do have concerns about regulatory capture via ETF’s, mining centralization, lack of privacy and better tools for bitcoin’s peer-to-peer use, etc…but that’s a chat for another time).

I just simply think it’s a bad move for bitcoiners to put all their eggs in the Trump basket, or any political basket for that matter. There’s severe reputational risk, slow down of adoption in the U.S. for those (especially on the left) that will see this as “Trump’s thing” or “right wing” and further this narrative, and the politicians who will respond by doubling down on narratives they continue to try to push against Bitcoin.

Photo by Rob Curran on Unsplash

For Bitcoin’s social layer, I think it’s in the best interest to continue educating on bitcoin, advocating for grassroots adoption at the individual/community level, holding politicians accountable when they try to overstep (like Elizabeth Warren wanting to institute a backdoor ban on self-custody…no, we’re not going to let that fly, much less how that’s blatantly unconstitutional), and not desperately clinging to politicians’ words on the campaign trail, no matter who they are, that are purely pandering for votes, regardless of what may happen once they are in office (or what they can actually do, versus the legislative and judiciary branches).

As for me, an independent voter, I care deeply about Bitcoin, it’s long-term success, and seeing as many people as possible around the world use and benefit from this revolutionary money and technology. Both for Bitcoin, and for reasons beyond Bitcoin and into my values I stated above, I cannot in good conscience support Donald Trump. You don’t have to vote for Donald Trump to support, learn about or use Bitcoin, or contribute to the Bitcoin ecosystem.

Whether you agree or disagree with me, my hope is that among a growing chorus of Trump supporters from the Bitcoin community, those on the outside looking in may see that not all of us are on the same page, and that Bitcoin is for anyone regardless of your political party or who you plan to vote for come November.

This is a guest post by Trey Walsh. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

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