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Elon Musk’s heart-to-heart with Republican presidential nominee and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis culminated with a focus on digital assets—touching on Bitcoin and the digital dollar, with a Dogecoin reference thrown in for good measure.
The conversation between Musk and DeSantis, which was moderated by entrepreneur David Sacks, didn’t achieve liftoff until more than thirty minutes after its scheduled start time, with hundreds of thousands of Twitter users finding their apps crashing and the audio stream glitching. But the chat eventually got underway, and toward the talk’s tail end, DeSantis leaned into his position as an advocate of crypto’s largest coin.
The Florida governor portrayed his support of Bitcoin as a matter of civil liberties, and attempts to restrict crypto by his opponents as government overreach.
“You have every right to do Bitcoin,” DeSantis said. “The only reason these people in Washington don’t like it is because they don’t control it.”
As the 2024 election season gets underway, DeSantis’ remarks mirror those of Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr, who heralded Bitcoin last week as an example of democracy and anathema to authoritarians.
On Wednesday, DeSantis touched on the uptick in regulatory enforcement actions that the digital assets industry has confronted so far this year, accusing the government of trying to purge digital assets to preserve the reign of those in power.
“Bitcoin represents a threat to them,” DeSantis said. “They’re trying to regulate it out of existence.”
DeSantis pledged that if Congress ever tried to institute a ban on “things like Bitcoin” by passing new legislation, that he would vehemently oppose it. He also said that the current administration could snuff out Bitcoin if Biden is reelected.
“The current regime, clearly, they have it out for Bitcoin,” DeSantis said. “And if it continues for another four years, they’ll probably end up killing it.”
Addressing the political conversation’s shift toward a focus on crypto, David Sacks noted there’s a big crypto audience on Twitter. Musk interjected to say there’s one for “Dogecoin too.”
DeSantis has incorporated remarks against central bank digital currency into his platform over time, echoing statements made by representatives like Tom Emmer and pursuing a ban against government-backed cryptocurrencies in Florida.
Central bank digital currencies (CBDC) are similar to assets like stablecoins that are pegged to the price of a sovereign currency like the greenback. But instead of being issued by private companies on public networks, they are managed by their respective governments or central banks.
In the case of the Federal Reserve, Chairman Jerome Powell has said a CBDC would “ideally” receive written approval from Congress. But DeSantis said there’s no wiggle room in terms of that, and it won’t happen on his watch.
“You must get authorization from Congress,” DeSantis said of a CBDC. “I can tell you, if I’m president, we are not doing a central bank digital currency.”
DeSantis underscored his message that a CBDC could be used to curtail purchases deemed politically unfavorable in the eyes of those who control the tech, possibly pushing environmental issues or preventing firearm sales.
“I see it as a massive transfer of power from individual consumers to a central authority, and I don’t think that’s good for a free society,” he said. “I’m a ‘no’ on [a] central bank digital currency.”