RFK Jr. Raises Crypto Taxes, Regulation as Issues in Opening Days of 2024 Presidential Race

Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. is criticizing the White House effort to establish a 30% tax for crypto mining in the U.S.

AccessTimeIconMay 3, 2023 at 7:33 p.m. UTC
Updated May 31, 2023 at 7:53 p.m. UTC

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the latest presidential candidate and a member of one of the most famous U.S. political families, raised a number of crypto issues in his newly announced campaign to challenge President Joe Biden.

Kennedy – a Democrat, environmental lawyer, son of former U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy and nephew to President John F. Kennedy and former Sen. Ted Kennedy – has raised several points about the digital assets industry in the early days of the 2024 presidential contest.

On Twitter Wednesday, the candidate lambasted the Biden Administration’s proposal for an excise tax that would ultimately charge crypto mining operations 30% of their energy costs – an effort that cited environmental harms caused by the sector without any demonstrated benefit.

“It is a mistake for the U.S. government to hobble the industry and drive innovation elsewhere,” wrote Kennedy. “Biden’s proposed 30% tax on cryptocurrency mining is a bad idea.”

Some early polling has suggested Kennedy – whose father ran for president in 1968 but was assassinated – is reaching into the double digits as a Democratic primary challenger for Biden. Known as a vocal critic of vaccinations, Kennedy has also been noted for his crypto enthusiasm in the past. Those views have quickly re-emerged from the candidate, who was announced Tuesday as a speaker at the Bitcoin 2023 conference in Miami Beach, Florida, later this month.

Earlier this week, he also argued that U.S. financial regulators are waging “an extra-legal war on crypto” that has damaged the banking system. In a statement last month, he weighed in on the debate over central bank digital currencies (CBDC), saying such government-backed tokens are “the ultimate mechanisms for social surveillance and control.”

That staunch anti-CBDC view echoes that of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is widely expected to run as a Republican candidate in 2024.

In these first days of the 2024 campaign, the earliest candidates – frequently filing in the hopes of dominating political discussions before the leading candidates officially enter the ring – often fizzle out. It’s uncertain whether Kennedy’s name recognition will establish his place among leading Democrats, although one recent candidate with no political background did very well when he ran for president: Donald Trump.

Edited by Stephen Alpher.


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Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.