US Democratic presidential candidates RFK Jr and Tulsi Gabbard spoke on the second day of Bitcoin 2023 in Miami.
The US has displayed a particular affinity for the Kennedy clan over the years, and its latest political candidate’s stellar environmental law and civil rights track record, and strong views on individual freedom, environmental protection, and the right to refuse vaccinations, also resonate strongly with a big contingent of the Bitcoin community,
In his first public appearance as a presidential candidate, Kennedy laid out a supportive vision for Bitcoin ownership and mining in the States, and warned against the dangers of governments utilizing technology to control their citizens. The civil rights activist and lawyer also announced that he would accept Bitcoin donations for his campaign, thereby becoming the first presidential candidate to greenlight the reception of crypto for a run to the Oval Office.
Kennedy noted that he first realized the importance of Bitcoin’s ability to circumvent government intervention after he witnessed Canada’s handling of the trucker protests last year. In his eyes, the protests were peaceful without violating any laws, yet protesters couldn’t access their money and bank accounts in order to support their families.
Kennedy’s 5 Pro-crypto Promises
In what he deemed as a “devastating use of government repression,” Kennedy said he saw for the first time how free money was equal in importance to free speech, and made a few key promises to the crypto space, saying he would:
1. Defend the right to self-custody Bitcoin and other digital assets in the US
2. Uphold the right to run a node at home
3. Defend use-agnostic and industry-neutral regulation of energy
4. Make sure that the US remains the global hub of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies and reverse the government’s growing hostility toward the industry
5. Review whether individuals like Ross Ulbricht were prosecuted “for actual crimes, or as a means to crackdown on crypto.” In the case of the latter, he would consider swiftly pardoning them.
On Bitcoin Mining and AI
Kennedy also took a shot at incumbent president Biden and his 30% energy tax on Bitcoin mining:
“President Biden's 30% tax on energy for Bitcoin miners requires an invasive surveillance apparatus to monitor what is happening in individual computers. It sets a terrible precedent in which everything that you do requires electricity and must now be monitored by the government. That's why I also support people's rights to refuse smart meters in their homes.”
While he stated that he doesn’t own any Bitcoin, Kennedy underscored its importance in a world of new threats to democracy such as increasing governmental interference:
“...we are now living in this age of turnkey totalitarianism with this emerging technology, which can empower totalitarian regimes. And our job is to try to build and fortify democratic institutions at the same rate as totalitarian instruments are being expanded in their power.”
Kennedy also touched on the malicious use of artificial intelligence:
“For things like AI which really are going to threaten democracy at its base, we need to not be chipping away at our democratic institutions. We need to fortify the ones that exist and build new ones and the biggest most important one on the horizon is Bitcoin because it can't be manipulated.”
Gabbard Takes Aim at Democrats and CBDCs
Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democratic Congresswoman from Hawaii, came out eloquently against the direction of her party as well as the implementation of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
She said she related to Kennedy’s speech earlier, as she knew a little bit of something about this:
“They make an example of those of us who dare to speak the truth and call out what is common sense and obvious to the rest of us about their hidden insanity and hypocrisy. Hoping that by making an example of us, they will then cause the rest of us to self-censor ourselves to fall in line and to comply.”
The ex-congresswoman aired her dissatisfaction with the current state of the Democratic Party and its leadership, arguing that the party has become elitist and intolerant of dissent, seeking power at any cost.
She criticized the mainstream media, big tech, and the national security state for working together to silence those who challenge the party's narrative.
The presidential hopeful warned that the current “power holders prioritize control over people's lives and suppress freedom of speech” and emphasized the importance of active citizenship and defending freedoms to counteract this oppression. Gabbard concluded her keynote by urging people to protect democracy and preserve the vision of the country's founders.
Bitcoin 2023 Pulls in Pro-Crypto Politicians
Bitcoin Miami 2023 played host to a string of prominent pro-crypto political speakers such as Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, a venture capitalist and “anti-woke” activist, Wyoming senator Cynthia Lummis, Governor Ridwan Kamil from West Java, Indonesia; North Carolina congressman Patrick McHenry, who last month memorably grilled SEC chair Gary Gensler in Congress; Congressman Byron Donalds, representing Florida; and David McIntosh, a former Congressman and White House Senior Staff member.
Organizers BTC Media previously said that the flagship global Bitcoin conference aims to provide a platform for the discussion of diverse perspectives and ideas. By engaging politicians open to Bitcoin and deepening their understanding of the cryptocurrency, the conference seeks to foster support for the industry in Washington and beyond.