Will Hammer is the Libertarian candidate for the United States House of Representatives from the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Sixth District. The 27 year old candidate is running against incumbent Bob Goodlatte, an extremely conservative Republican.
Hammer was able to gather the required signatures to win the Libertarian Party’s nomination in June. Until that point Goodlatte was running unopposed. Hammer grew up in a Democratic household but began to move toward a more Libertarian mindset while he studied economics at Hampden-Sydney College.
Libertarians believe in sharply limiting the presence of government in citizens’ lives. He is also in favor of limiting or eliminating NSA spying programs, which we first heard about through the actions of whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
Cointelegraph: Please tell our readers a little about yourself, why you are running for office and what your plans might be if elected?
Will Hammer: I have been politically active from a young age, making political posters and cartoons in early elementary school. I was raised in a mostly Democratic family, therefore identified as a Democrat as well.
Then, I went to college. I went as physics major but realized that wasn’t for me, so I took a semester of various classes and really connected with my economics class. Soon after, I identified as a libertarian and have so since. There, I co-founded a libertarian group, Hampden-Sydney Classical Liberals, and became active within the libertarian movement.
I am running for office because I am tired of seeing business as usual career politicians from both major parties continue to get elected and continue bad policy that is not in the interest of the American people. With Robert Sarvis’ success last year in the Governor race, I thought that a third party candidate, particularly Libertarian, could be seen as viable.
In addition, there was no presumed Democrat running so I felt it was a great opportunity to run against an 11 term incumbent that I completely disagree with on many issues.
If elected, I want to be a loud voice for freedom. I want to champion good policy and fight to reduce the size and scope of government. I want to work with coalitions to advance libertarian principles and try to see meaningful change. My three big issues are privacy, foreign policy, and the drug war. I want to curb the powers of the NSA and sunset the Patriot Act. I am a non-interventionist, so I am against foreign military adventurism that you have seen from the US in the last couple decades especially. And, I want to end the Drug War.
I would love to see full legalization of drugs, at least marijuana, but definitely will fight for any good movement on that issue as there are many unintended consequences that stem from the Drug War such as incarceration rates in the US, violent gangs and drug cartels, militarization of our police, industrial hemp being banned from being grown, medical research in regards to marijuana and other drugs, the huge costs, border security, and of course it being immoral.
CT: Please describe your introduction to Bitcoin.
WH: I first heard of Bitcoin on reddit.com, I believe. I follow a lot of libertarians online or at least used to when I had time, and I remember particular people talking about this revolutionary digital currency. Adam Kokesh really introduced me to Bitcoin and I learned initially what it actually was through his videos. Then I really got into it when Jeffrey Tucker started to praise Bitcoin, in the positive manner that he always does with technology.
CT: Have you had any personal experience with Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies such as trading or using Bitcoin for purchases?
WH: Yes! I have had Bitcoin for over a year now, as well as some Litecoin and Dogecoin. I initially got some Bitcoin and didn’t do much with it. But at the beginning of this year I bought two block erupter cubes to mine my own. I didn’t factor in the increase in difficulty when doing estimates on profitability and well I have broken about even on that purchase monetarily.
But, I have gained a lot of experience, had a lot of fun setting them up, and felt like I contributed to the blockchain and more so became a part of the Bitcoin community. I also got a Coinbase account roughly at the same time to purchase Bitcoin conveniently. I have also done a bit of trade, such as purchasing some Bitcoin and other lapel pins from Shiny Badges, as well as a few other transactions from other merchants.
“I just love being able to offer that option and show Washington that there is a voter block that uses Bitcoin.”
CT: Are you accepting Bitcoin for campaign donations and, if so, what has your experience been?
WH: Yes, I decided to start accepting Bitcoin donations through BitPay shortly after the FEC ruling allowing for Bitcoin donations. Being a third party candidate, donations are hard to come by and that definitely has been the case with Bitcoin donations as well. But, I just love being able to offer that option and show Washington that there is a voter block that uses Bitcoin.
CT: The central banks in most nations exercise a great deal of control over both the general economy and individual finances. What effect does this have on the overall economic health of those countries?
WH: Central banks, such as the Federal Reserve, affect the general population more so than any other governing body or department. Monetary policy may not be sexy, but it is at the root of all other policy. The Federal Reserve has lost roughly 96% of the dollar’s value in the 100 years of its existence. That means your dollar now doesn’t buy anywhere near what it bought then.
CT: Do you feel that this control has an overall positive or negative effect on the economy in general and, if so, can you describe this effect?
WH: With QE and other policies, it greatly distorts markets, sending wrong messages and not allowing for the market to react properly. Artificial lowering of interest rates lowers to cost of money, again distorting markets and giving a great incentive to spend and spend some more, not save.
CT: How much control do you think the banks and financial industry has on governmental policy, specifically, on how policy makers make decisions?
WH: It allows for the deficit spending in Washington. The Federal Reserve owns most of our public debt. It allows for politicians to keep kicking the issues at hand down the road so they do not have to deal with it and can keep getting reelected.
“The military wants to see how Bitcoin works because they believe terrorist organizations may be using it to fund their activities. But, Bitcoin is the most public and open ledger ever.”
- Will Hammer
CT: We understand that the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM), a military organization, is studying cryptocurrencies and their relationship to terrorism. Can you explain why a military organization instead of a police or intelligence agency is performing this study?
WH: I cannot explain why the government does most of what it does, other than they like to get their hands in everything and see how they can regulate or control it. The military wants to see how Bitcoin works because they believe terrorist organizations may be using it to fund their activities. But, Bitcoin is the most public and open ledger ever.
Every transaction is public, but of course the identity of the address owner is not. I seriously doubt terrorist organizations are using Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency much, if at all. The irony is, cash is king when you want to do something that needs to be hidden from government’s eyes.
CT: Although not specifically stated by US policy makers an obvious concern is that Bitcoin might enable people to avoid paying taxes. Do you think that this is a valid concern and what effect such a possibility might have on revenue generation if cryptocurrencies were to become widely adopted?
WH: This is a valid concern for the government, as they rely on tax revenue to function. But, this is the beauty of Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, it allows you to essentially opt out of an involuntary system that you are extorted to pay taxes. You take away the revenue of government; you eventually limit it to a much smaller scale or even make it obsolete.
Bitcoin and other technologies, such as the blockchain with its seemingly unlimited possibilities and 3-d printing, are making a voluntary society more of a possibility through algorithm and other peaceful means.
CT: Have you spoken about Bitcoin while on the campaign trail?
WH: Yes, I try to bring it up in a lot of my interviews but of course only about 10%, if that, make it into the story and Bitcoin is usually left out. I did, however, get my recent Cointelegraph Op-Ed published in a local paper that I write a guest column in on a regular basis.
CT: What type of responses do you get from citizens when you speak about Bitcoin?
WH: Most people that I have talked to about Bitcoin have never heard of it or don’t really understand it. I love to educate people on what it is and its possibilities. Most people are really receptive, but people are afraid of what they do not understand so there is a bit of that.
CT: What contributions do you think Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies might give to society as a whole and to the United States in particular?
WH: Bitcoin has opened up a whole new sector in the economy aimed at innovating implementation of what is the future, as well as allow for people to essentially opt out of a system that they do not agree with. It is a beautiful thing.
CT: Do you think Bitcoin can help with problems such as income disparity and if so, how?
WH: I believe that Bitcoin stands to help those of lower income and developing countries greatly. It allows those that cannot get a bank account or have a very corrupt and unstable government to freely trade with a sound currency that is accepted worldwide.
“I would fight to make sure that the Bitcoin sector would stay unregulated. We do not want to stunt the innovation and growth of this market.”
CT: If elected, what are your plans with regard to Bitcoin? Do you have a specific agenda?
WH: I plan to continue to be a Bitcoin enthusiast and hope to bring more attention to its possibilities to a great audience. I would fight to make sure that the Bitcoin sector would stay unregulated. We do not want to stunt the innovation and growth of this market. Bitcoin itself will be ok; government will never be able to regulate it as it wishes it could.
CT: Do you feel Bitcoin should be regulated and if so, how?
WH: No, I do not like the idea of regulations in general and definitely not towards Bitcoin. And as I have said before, government cannot regulate Bitcoin. It can try, and believe me it will, but it will fail. It just cannot be done; it’s an un-winnable war for the government. But that has never stopped them before.
CT: Considering the influence that the financial sector has on policy makers, is balanced regulation possible in today’s political climate?
WH: The issue with influence from the financial sector, or any sector, is that the government has a monopoly over enumerated powers, such as regulation, law, and enforcement. When you have such a leviathan of a central government, you are going to attract bad agents because it’s the easiest and most cost efficient means to get an advantage on your competition.
Regulation is written by the banks and corporations that it’s supposed to reign in. So what it does is actually raise the barriers to entry and give them an unfair advantage that they would not have in a free market.
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