The presidential elections in the United States are here and we will know who will be the next president in a couple of days. The rise of Donald Trump has been a phenomenon of sorts. Trump, the Republican Party candidate, is far from your mainstream politician. He is brash, controversial and some might even say crude. There is no denying though that he has ridden a wave of populism.
Trump, a billionaire and reality television personality, famous for his show The Apprentice, is considered a favourite candidate of the little people. He has been described as the ‘Penthouse Populist’ by USA Today, which described the support for the candidate in rural America in these words:
“Drive an hour or two outside of any major U.S. city, however – Washington, D.C., for example – and campaign signs for Trump dominate the countryside: nestled in soybean fields and thick woods; beside two-lane highways and shotgun houses. Support for Clinton is hard to find, if it exists at all.”
Are Bitcoin Libertarians Fuelling the Trump Phenomenon?
Trump has garnered the support of the rural masses in the US but there is also another group that has rallied behind him - the Bitcoin community. David Golumbia, author of the book “The Politics of Bitcoin - Software as Right-Wing Extremism,” makes the case about how cyberlibertarianism is a product of far-right political thought.
Yet if we look superficially, David Golumbia maybe onto something. Trump is perceived to be positive for the progression of Bitcoin, with even CNBC making the case as far back as July 2016. It is just that they believe that whereas Trump’s election may negatively impact fiat currencies, Bitcoin may begin to thrive. Cointelegraph too has covered Trump and his impact on Bitcoin.
Our coverage, it should be said, has been fairly balanced on this account. A positive trend in Bitcoin due to a Trump presidency could thus be construed to be a reason why some Bitcoin enthusiasts might support Trump.
We know that as recently as October 2016 saw a large donation from the Bitcoin community to Trump, with Peter Thiel, an investor in BitPay, donating $1.25 mln to Trump’s campaign, according to the New York Times.
Trump is not popular with the techworld
While Bitcoin attracts a certain type of libertarian crowd, the ‘mainstream’ tech world is less than enthusiastic about Trump. There is even a scathing letter from Silicon Valley leaders that attack Trump’s lack of vision and his policies.
An excerpt from this letter states:
“We also believe in the free and open exchange of ideas, including over the Internet, as a seed from which innovation springs. Donald Trump proposes “shutting down” parts of the Internet as a security strategy — demonstrating both poor judgment and ignorance about how technology works. His penchant to censor extends to revoking press credentials and threatening to punish media platforms that criticize him.”
Clearly, Mr. Trump has failed to captivate the tech world with his rantings against immigration and the shutting down of his critics. CNBC states that while the Trump campaign has managed to raise only $300,000 from Silicon Valley, Clinton has raised nearly $8 mln.
The Bitcoin community, thus, remains one of the few areas of the tech world where you might actually find true Trump supporters.
A Libertarian Wet Dream
Trump may have a wet mop like hairdo but he is a libertarian’s wet dream. We talked with Joby Weeks, who describes how many libertarians overcame their reluctance to support Trump.
“The anarchist libertarian hackers, the early Austrian economist adopters who first embraced Bitcoin, also loved Ron Paul. Many of them decided to hold their noses while they registered as Republicans so they could support him and become national delegates. I was one of them and I made it all the way to the National Convention, representing Colorado. Millions of liberty minded Bitcoiners infiltrated the Republican Party because of the Ron Paul revolution. Many are still there trying to have some influence.”
Not everyone is sold in the Bitcoin club
The idea that Bitcoin, or people who invest in Bitcoin, are solely responsible for the rise of Trump would be an exaggeration. The Bitcoin community is a diverse place and attracts people from all sorts of political backgrounds.
At the end of the day, Bitcoin users are people and they come in all hues and shades, just not only in orange like Trump does.
As Jason Crowe, CEO of three tech startups and Crowetic Computers, says:
“I'd truly hate to be labeled a Trump supporter simply because I'm a huge Bitcoin advocate…”