Meet the Libertarian Bitcoiner Considering a Run for New Hampshire’s Senate Seat

Bruce Fenton says he wants to tear down regulatory obstacles for the crypto industry at the federal level.

AccessTimeIconMar 24, 2022 at 5:01 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 3:56 p.m. UTC

Former executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation Bruce Fenton is considering a self-funded run for the Republican nomination for New Hampshire’s seat in the U.S. Senate.

The long-time bitcoin (BTC) proponent has been active in New Hampshire’s libertarian movement, the Free State Project, for several years. Though he describes himself as a libertarian, Fenton plans to run as a Republican – he sometimes refers to himself as a “Ron Paul Republican.”

Fenton told CoinDesk he wants to be an advocate for bitcoin on the federal level, arguing that his deep knowledge of the technology and crypto-related issues would be a boon for the industry. Fenton served as the head of the Bitcoin Foundation, a now-defunct nonprofit organization aimed at legitimizing bitcoin, from April 2015 to July 2016.

Fenton is not the first vocal supporter of crypto to consider running for office. Messari founder Ryan Selkis has been flirting with the idea of a run for U.S. Senate in 2024, ever since Terra founder Do Kwon was served by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) at a conference hosted by Messari.

And when they aren’t running themselves, bitcoiners are throwing money at crypto-friendly candidates such as Democrat Aarika Rhodes, an elementary school teacher trying to unseat Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who has emerged as one of crypto’s biggest opponents on Capitol Hill.

Big names (and deep pockets) in crypto, including Custodia Bank’s (formerly known as Avanti) Caitlin Long and ShapeShift founder Erik Voorhees, have already tweeted their support for Fenton.

As the crypto industry continues to grow and face regulatory obstacles, more crypto investors are becoming single-issue voters – a situation Fenton hopes to take advantage of.

“I’m in favor of limiting government involvement in our lives as much as possible,” Fenton said. “Whether it’s crypto or any other issue, I believe government should reduce regulatory burdens and get out of our lives and wallets.”

Fenton told CoinDesk he’s opposed to any new crypto regulations.

“Lawmakers should tear down existing obstacles rather than building new ones,” he said.

The political landscape

If Fenton decides to run, he plans to start his campaign with a self-funded injection of $5 million of personal bitcoin wealth, but told CoinDesk he’s open to accepting crypto donations and “other types of contributions” to his campaign.

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), the state’s incumbent Democrat, is seeking reelection this year. Hassan is widely unpopular among her constituents, however, making her seat vulnerable to a Republican takeover.

New Hampshire’s Republican governor, Chris Sununu, was strongly expected to run against Hassan for the Senate seat, but declined the opportunity last November, leaving the race open to lesser-known candidates, including state senator Chuck Morse.

Fenton, if he decides to enter the fray, would be a latecomer.

“Right now I’m talking strategy and support with a great group of folks,” Fenton told CoinDesk. “Timing is key since the primary is soon.” The primary election is slated for Sept. 13.

But, despite the challenges, Fenton believes he’s well-positioned to make a positive impact on New Hampshire – and the crypto industry – if elected.

“We are facing times of true good and evil,” Fenton said, adding “Tyranny versus freedom. The violence in Ukraine is a symptom of a larger problem of evil which is manifested in centralized power structures who use violence.”

“I think bitcoiners have a better-than-average understanding of human rights, freedom and peace. We all have to do all we can to further peace and freedom,” he said.


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Cheyenne Ligon

Cheyenne Ligon is a CoinDesk news reporter with a focus on crypto regulation and policy. She has no significant crypto holdings.