Let’s be clear: It was not the substance of Donald Trump’s tweet that made his critique of bitcoin and Libra so important last week.
It should be of no surprise that this US President would declare himself “not a fan” of “highly volatile” cryptocurrencies “based on thin air” that “facilitate unlawful behavior” or that he much prefers a “dependable and reliable” currency “called the United States Dollar!”
(Anyone who assumed Trump would be a “drain-the-swamp” libertarian advocate for censorship-resistant money had an ill-informed view of a man whose government is stacked with former Wall Street execs, who opposes free trade and immigration, and takes a draconian approach to a variety of civil rights and social liberties.)
What matters is the very fact that a sitting president mentioned cryptocurrencies at all. Indeed, from a price perspective, Trump’s disparaging remarks are, on balance, positive for bitcoin. By Friday evening, the post-tweet price action reflected that.
More importantly, the tweet marks a symbolic milestone in the gradual but ever-expanding presence that cryptocurrency occupies in the public conversation around money and policy.
It also marks the starting point in a titanic battle over the shape of our global money system.
Publicity you can’t buy
Why is a Trump tweet-shame positive for bitcoin’s price? Well, bitcoin must stay relevant to succeed, and this was, at the very least, an acknowledgement from the halls of power of its relevance.
By simply giving it the time of day, Trump revealed that people within the high levels of the U.S. power structure are noticing the challenge that cryptocurrency technology poses to it.