Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said that the “permutations and possibilities of blockchain technology are staggeringly great,” at Ripple’s annual Swell conference in San Francisco on October 1.
Following a keynote address at the event, Clinton spoke with Gene Sperling, who was his economic advisor from 1996-2001, where they covered a range of topics from foreign policy and cultural issues to blockchain and cryptocurrency investing and banking. Clinton said:
"This whole blockchain deal has the potential it does only because it is applicable across national borders [and] income groups. The permutations and possibilities are staggeringly great.”
While Clinton acknowledged the potential of disruptive technologies like blockchain, the former president urged that economic and social policy “work better as positive sum games.” Clinton contextualized the new technological developments within the currently polarized political cultures of the U.S. and Europe:
“We could ruin it all by negative identity politics and economic and social policy. You think about that."
Clinton reportedly received his first Bitcoin (BTC) back in 2016 at a conference in Washington, D.C., when venture capitalist and tech entrepreneur Matthew Roszak gave the former president a gift of Bitcoin (BTC). Notably, Hillary Clinton, wife of the former president, opted not to accept BTC donations for her presidential campaign.
Digital currencies and politics have become closer as U.S. regulators call for more regulatory clarity regarding cryptocurrencies. Last week, a group of lawmakers from the U.S. Congress sent a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton asking him to provide guidance on how the SEC plans to regulate digital currency. The congressmen also expressed their concerns regarding uncertainty surrounding the treatment of offers and sales of digital tokens.
In July, crypto exchange Coinbase created its own political action committee (PAC), enabling it to potentially pool donations for crypto-friendly campaigns. Later in September, a group of U.S.-based blockchain and crypto companies announced they will form the Blockchain Association, the “first” lobbying group representing the blockchain industry in Washington D.C..