The recent departure of Vivek Ramaswamy and Ron DeSantis from the United States presidential race appears to have left just two pro-crypto longshots in the running — though there’s some hope that former president Donald Trump could be “friendly to the crypto industry.”
On Jan. 21, Ron DeSantis — the Republican central bank digital currency (CBDC) opponent who once vowed to “protect” Bitcoin (BTC) — wound down his campaign, saying he had no clear path to victory and threw support behind GOP frontrunner Trump.
Six days earlier on Jan.16, the outspoken pro-crypto GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy dropped his bid for president and similarly backed Trump.
The departures are understood to leave only two candidates with publicly known pro-crypto stances — Democratic candidate Dean Phillips and independent bidder Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Phillips, a relatively unknown Minnesota congressman, said at a crypto-related forum in December that Trump and President Joe Biden are “not the right people to lead” on crypto and that the U.S. “should make sure we don’t stifle innovation.”
Rep. @deanbphillips candidly sharing his experience as a congressman – “the quiet part out loud.” The audience is loving it and he’s getting laughs.
— Stand With Crypto️ (@standwithcrypto) December 11, 2023
On the other hand, Kennedy was the first presidential candidate ever to accept Bitcoin for campaign donations and has made multiple pro-crypto remarks and promises, including a pledge to back the U.S. dollar with Bitcoin.
As president, I will make sure that your right to use and hold Bitcoin is inviolable. Bitcoin is not only a bulwark against totalitarianism and the manipulation of our money supply, it points the way toward a future in which government institutions are more transparent and more… pic.twitter.com/rPkMARieYu
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) June 27, 2023
However, Phillips is seen as having a small chance of winning the top job as Biden led by a huge margin in polling for the Democrat frontrunner.
Kennedy is still fighting for inclusion on state ballots and said on Jan. 16 that he filed to create his own party in six states — an attempt to get on the ballots as party ballot access requires fewer voter signatures than running as an independent.
Others, including independent candidate Cornel West, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, and Republican hopefuls Nikki Haley and Ryan Binkley — also seen as longshots for president — haven’t signaled a clear stance toward cryptocurrencies.
Democratic candidate Marianne Willamson hasn’t either but once aired disappointment at the Canadian government blocking crypto wallets during the 2022 trucker protests.
Canada, are you okay…? https://t.co/6vi1B3qBbq
— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) February 18, 2022
However, there is some hope that former president Donald Trump could be positive for crypto, though others have shed doubt on the ot
On Jan. 17, Trump vowed to “never allow” the creation of a CBDC, but despite his comment, crypto advocacy body the Chamber of Digital Commerce founder and CEO Perianne Boring told Cointelegraph his crypto stance “remains unclear at this time” and his administration did not have a “strong track record of being pro-crypto.”
“The Trump Administration attempted to introduce terrible regulations on self-hosted wallets through a midnight rule-making, blocked spot Bitcoin ETFs, and President Trump himself said he ‘was not a fan’ of cryptocurrencies while in office,” Boring said.
I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2019
Boring noted, however, that Trump’s active participation in nonfungible tokens (NFTs) — which has seen him pocket millions from licensing his image — does suggest “a possible evolution in his stance on cryptocurrencies, potentially indicating a more crypto-friendly perspective than previously assumed.”
Earlier in the month, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer told POLITICO on Jan. 8 that “if the second Trump administration takes place, [the] president will be a lot more friendly to the crypto industry.”
Americans will head to the polls on Nov. 5, and current polling aggregated by 538 shows Trump and Biden are by large the frontrunners for their respective parties, with Trump slightly edging Biden in national polls.