Did President Biden Just Endorse Bitcoin?

The octogenarian politician is sporting laser eyes on Twitter, seemingly unaware it is a symbol of support for the cryptocurrency.

AccessTimeIconFeb 12, 2024 at 8:16 p.m. UTC
Updated Feb 12, 2024 at 8:18 p.m. UTC
AccessTimeIconFeb 12, 2024 at 8:16 p.m. UTCUpdated Feb 12, 2024 at 8:18 p.m. UTC
AccessTimeIconFeb 12, 2024 at 8:16 p.m. UTCUpdated Feb 12, 2024 at 8:18 p.m. UTC

To answer the question: No, President Joseph Biden is not suddenly a backer of Bitcoin. But the octogenarian politician’s social media team is appropriating the imagery of hardcore Bitcoiners, after posting an image of the U.S. president with laser eyes on Twitter/X.

This is an excerpt from The Node newsletter, a daily roundup of the most pivotal crypto news on CoinDesk and beyond. You can subscribe to get the full newsletter here.

The picture of Dear Old Joe is apparently a reference to “Dark Brandon,” a meme that Democratic campaigners are trying to force. As Mashable reports:

“In response to the Chiefs beating the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, the president posted the eerie portrait that liberals have reinterpreted and used since 2022 to depict Biden as a superhero …

“The genesis of the Dark Brandon meme is peak internet, which really just means its story is murky and hard to trace. As Vox explained in 2023, the meme seemingly originated at a NASCAR Xfinity Series race in October 2021, when NBC reporter Kelli Stavast determined crowd chants of "F**k Joe Biden!" as "Let’s go Brandon!" during a live interview with winning driver Brandon Brown.”

Biden, eyes inflamed, arms crossed and teeth twinkling, confused the world especially considering that bitcoin has been on a tear. The cryptocurrency is now trading at its highest level since December 2021.

But orange-pilled, he is not. According to Mashable, the meme is a response to a right-wing conspiracy theory that the Biden administration would rig the Super Bowl to secure support from billionaire superstar country singer Taylor Swift. If that doesn’t make sense, congrats; you haven’t rotted your brain by spending all your free time online.

To quickly unpack it: Swift, who campaigned for Biden in 2020, recently started dating Kansas City Chiefs’ tight end Travis Kelce, who, during the coronavirus pandemic, did public outreach trying to convince his fans to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This apparently puts them both in the pocket of Big Blue.

Swift is already riding the wave of newfound fame after her blockbuster Eras tour, which is widely cited as the highest-grossing concert series of all time. The only thing that could boost her reputation, and therefore help her brainwash her fans into voting for Biden, would be if her boyfriend was part of the winning team of the highest-watched, live televised event of the year.

Indeed, the Chiefs pulled ahead literally in the final seconds of overtime, becoming the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowl games since Tom Brady led the New England Patriots two decades ago.

"Just like we drew it up," Dark Biden posted on social media, making light of the bizarro-land conspiracy.

To be fair to Bitcoiners who got over excited by another politician posting laser eyes, two years after the joke stopped being relevant, Biden’s social media team’s “meme” wasn’t exactly easy to parse. But if there was any group that should have been in-the-know, it should have been crypto fanatics.

After all, one of the biggest proponents of the idea that Swift and Kelce are in a sham relationship only for Biden’s benefit was Vivek Ramaswamy, who was the Crypto Candidate before dropping out of the race. He wrote last month on X: "I wonder if there’s a major presidential endorsement coming from an artificially culturally propped-up couple this fall."

Almost all the top posts to Biden’s “meme” (can it be a meme if only democratic insiders can pick up on it?) were crypto/financial influencers asking “What is happening” or “Thought this was Joe Biden (Parody) at first.” How quickly we forget. Biden’s account has posted Dark Brandon a few times, and everytime the same people respond the same way — each time their dopamine receptors seem a little more fried.

You do have to wonder why Biden’s social media team is copying crypto’s aesthetics. Is he trying to reconnect with a potentially large voter base after previously calling upon the whole of government to bring crypto in line? Is he trying to bait a “single-issue” voter base who is likely not going to back him anyway? Is he trying to woo Sen. Lummis?

Social media is a powerful force for connecting to constituents, though it can backfire. It's notable that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis essentially based his failed presidential campaign around internet-tinged culture war issues, even choosing to announce his bid on a Twitter/X live voice chat alongside super-poster Elon Musk.

Choosing what to post in electoral politics is often a question of choosing how to post, whether you're willing to debase yourself by trying to seem "with it" or sticking to more promotional language. To some extent, Dark Brandon's laser eyes shows how culture is created online, often as a bottom-up phenomenon of people who share interests (like the idea that bitcoin could hit $100K if everyone believes hard enough).

It seems like an unlikely coincidence given the prominence of the “laser eyes” meme, which has been sported by elected officials as well as corporations like Franklin Templeton to signal their support of Bitcoin. But nothing seems out of the question these days when it comes to contemporary U.S. politics.


Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to consensus.coindesk.com to register and buy your pass now.


Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Daniel Kuhn

Daniel Kuhn is a deputy managing editor for Consensus Magazine. He owns minor amounts of BTC and ETH.