The latest contender for the leadership of the Republican Party said he is an advocate for crypto.
“The current regime, clearly, has it out for Bitcoin,” Ron DeSantis said during a Twitter space with Elon Musk and venture capitalist David Sacks in which he officially announced his bid for U.S. president. “And if it continues for another four years, they’ll probably end up killing it.”
DeSantis said he views crypto as a question of civil liberties. As Florida’s governor, he signed legislation prohibiting the use of central bank digital currencies within the state (although some lawyers question if the law does what it says).
“I just do not have the itch to have to control everything that people may be doing in this space,” he said. “Bitcoin represents a threat to them, they’re trying to regulate it out of existence.”
During the interview, DeSantis insisted on Congressional authorization for a CBDC, vowing to avoid it during his potential presidency, due to concerns over its potential misuse to influence politically unfavorable purchases.
Some have argued, however, that CBDCs enshrine constitutional protections over commerce, giving these unfavorable purchasers or merchants – such as someone buying ammunition or a pornographer selling their creations – a defense against un-banking that can’t be used when dealing with a private company.
Regardless, CBDCs might be the newest wedge issue in U.S. politics.
In a recent interview with CoinDesk, Samuel Armes, president of the Florida Blockchain Business Association, which helped draft DeSantis’ anti-CBDC bill, said that DeSantis’ office has gotten more phone calls about CBDCs than any of the usual issues.
A recent poll from Quinnipiac University shows that DeSantis still trails former president Donald Trump among Republican and Republican-leaning voters, with 56% supporting Trump followed by 25% for DeSantis.
DeSantis isn't the first Republican candidate to mention bitcoin. Former pharma entrepreneur and longshot contender Vivek Ramaswamy said onstage at Bitcoin 2023 in Miami that the next election should be a "referendum of fiat currency" and has also come out against CBDCs with a "hell no."