Trump Criticizes Bitcoin, Crypto, and Facebook’s Libra

Given the eclectic choice of subjects on his Twitter feed, President Trump was bound to weigh in on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies sometime. 

Late last evening, after Fed chief Jerome Powell’s House testimony included comments on Facebook’s Libra, Trump sent out tweets expressing his displeasure at cryptocurrencies. Predictably enough, he is not a “fan” of cryptocurrencies and contrasted their value with that of the United States dollar. The value of cryptocurrencies is based on thin air and they “facilitated” unlawful behaviour, he wrote. Facebook’s Libra also has “little standing or dependability” and the project must seek a banking charter, he stated. 

Facebook’s Libra project was also criticized by billionaire investor and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who said that he was not a fan of what Facebook was trying to do. His specific concerns about the project were related to its impact in a country with an unstable currency. “There’s going to be some despot in some African country that gets really upset that they can’t control their currency anymore and that’s where the real problems start occurring,” he wrote. 

Economist Nouriel Roubini, a long time critic of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, also supported their positions on Twitter.    

Their comments came after Fed chief Jerome Powell told lawmakers that Facebook’s Libra raised “serious concerns” related to privacy, money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability. 

On the one hand, it should be concerning that the president of the world’s most powerful economy is skeptical of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. But there is also the other argument that there is no such thing as bad PR. President Trump’s tweets have helped focus attention on Bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra. Fed Chief Jerome Powell’s comments about Libra and cryptocurrencies yesterday further shone the spotlight on the advances made by cryptocurrencies as a tainted and scam-ridden ecosystem to one that may have serious implications for the monetary policy of countries. The attention means that there is a good chance that, with iterations and regulation, cryptocurrencies could finally go mainstream.