In the end, the relationship between Trump and Bitcoin brings benefits to the cryptocurrency. From Hillary Clinton to Cambridge Analytica, Bitcoin seems to be everywhere.
Donald Trump’s presidential term in the US has seen events and discussion points illustrating the advantages of using digital and apolitical currency like Bitcoin.
Trump recently tweeted that he dislikes Bitcoin but Congress members seem to realize that they would not be able to implement a ban on crypto assets.
Whenever an important event involving Bitcoin occurs, there is an opportunity that more people learn about the value of the digital currency system.
Trump and Russia
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) was hacked during the 2016 election cycle, supposedly by hackers related to a branch of Russian intelligence. The e-mail records of the hacking were published by WikiLeaks, an organization having a long and extensive history with Bitcoin.
DNC e-mails revealed a preference for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, among DNC leaders. Obviously, Trump was a beneficiary, since the content of the e-mails was incorporated into his “Crooked Hillary” narrative.
The US Department of Justice claimed that the Russian government had used digital currency to finance some activities related to the attack. It is said that Russian hackers used Bitcoin to make payments related to the operation, in addition to mining the cryptocurrency.
Besides, the NSA informer, Edward Snowden, stated that he used Bitcoin to pay for the servers, since he was sending some documents to journalists in 2013.
Additionally, Trump’s chief advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, received an e-mail threatening to release the President’s tax returns unless a 52-bitcoin ransom was paid. The sender of the e-mail was posing as the hacker behind the DNC attack.
During the US presidential election in 2016, the Trump campaign worked with the Cambridge Analytica political consultancy, known for accessing the personal data of millions of US Facebook users without their consent. In 2019, executives from the firm were caught boasting about having invented the “twisted Hillary” campaign during Trump’s running for president.
Cambridge Analytica’s scandal has made the general public more aware of all the personal data accessible to governments and businesses through the Internet. As well as limiting the type of information available to Google, Facebook and other large social networks, part of Bitcoin’s commercial appeal is to limit the level of access and control that large institutions have over their finances.
Darknet Market’s Repression
A third incident connecting Trump with Bitcoin is his focus on closing several darknet markets. According to former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Trump ordered several government agencies to prosecute “transnational criminal Internet organizations” such as AlphaBay and Hansa.
Similar to Senator Charles Schumer’s public outrage over Bitcoin and Silk Road in 2011, this type of focus of attention by the media on darknet markets tend to draw more attention to people’s possibility to receive medicines at home at the press of a button, almost as easily as trying to order regular items from Amazon.
Whether it is the interference in Russian elections or the repressive measures against darknet markets, which illustrate the usefulness of Bitcoin, or the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which simply makes Internet users reflect more deeply on their online activities, President Trump has found himself connected to important Bitcoin-related stories in recent years.
In his book The Art of the Deal Trump clearly states that “bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all”, like in the case of Bitcoin.
By Willmen Blanco