RFK Jr: Bitcoin ‘Currency of Freedom’; Canadian Government Morphed Into ‘Monster’ During Trucker Protests

The Democratic presidential candidate made the comments during a Twitter Spaces conversation with prominent bitcoiners on Wednesday.

AccessTimeIconJul 27, 2023 at 3:37 p.m. UTC
Updated Jul 28, 2023 at 7:54 p.m. UTC
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Democratic presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. said Canada’s government suddenly morphed into a monster during the trucker protests in that country’s capital of Ottawa last year.

The 69-year-old longtime environmental lawyer and Kennedy family scion made the comments during a 90-minute Twitter Spaces event on Wednesday. During the conversation, he also hailed bitcoin as a “currency of freedom” and revealed that he recently bought two bitcoins (BTC) for each of his seven children.

Kennedy, who provided financial support to the protesting Canadian truckers in early 2022, said his bitcoin moment came during the final days of the protests when the Emergencies Act was invoked for the first time in Canada’s history. The Act gave Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government additional powers to help quash the demonstrations – including the authority to freeze the bank accounts of protest leaders and supporters.

“They did something that was, to me, unimaginable,” Kennedy explained. “They used facial recognition, license plate identification and a number of other technologies to determine the identities of the truckers, and then they froze their bank accounts and their credit cards.”

It was during that period that the soon-to-be presidential candidate experienced what he referred to as his “Damascus moment.”

“This government of Canada, which I think most people like me had considered a role model for Western liberal democracy,” Kennedy said, “suddenly morphed into this monster.”

“It occurred to me at that point that freedom of transaction was at least as important as freedom of expression,” Kennedy said in response to a question from the event’s organizer Scott Melker, a bitcoin investor and podcaster.

Kennedy appears to be the de facto political darling of the Bitcoin community and even delivered a keynote speech at the Bitcoin 2023 conference in Miami this past May. His comments yesterday, together with the confirmation of his recent bitcoin purchase, may also endear him to fellow bitcoiner, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, and one of Trudeau’s harshest critics, Pierre Poilievre.

Poilievre, a vocal proponent of bitcoin who once posted a video of himself buying a shawarma with the digital currency, had a reaction similar to Kennedy’s and accused Trudeau of “attacking his own population” at a news conference that followed the release of a report on the Trudeau government's use of Canada’s Emergencies Act.

RFK Jr. on Bitcoin T-Bills, capital gains, ETFs and censorship

Political chatter about bitcoin among U.S. presidential candidates has ramped up in recent months with GOP candidates like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy both publicly praising the digital currency.

  • Bitcoin treasury bills: Kennedy has gone as far as to propose ideas such as bitcoin Treasury bills (T-bills), i.e., government debt which would be backed by bitcoin and other commodities.

“My proposal is to make a small number of T-bills backed by a basket of hard assets, including gold, silver, platinum and bitcoin,” Kennedy explained yesterday. “We are looking at how that kind of commodity-based asset might put a little bit of discipline into the Fed and the practice of just printing money arbitrarily with no control and no backstop at all.”

  • Capital gains: The presidential hopeful also proposed scrapping the capital gains tax on bitcoin sales, but with a million-dollar cap to prevent large investment managers from exploiting the exemption.

“I've talked about some kind of suspension of the capital gains taxes for conversion of bitcoin,” Kennedy said. “One of the dangers we want to avoid is creating huge windfalls for BlackRock and for Goldman. But there may be evidence that we may be able to do that with a million-dollar cap, so small investors who are into bitcoin would not have to pay the capital gains taxes, but super large holding companies like BlackRock and Goldman would.”

  • Bitcoin exchange traded funds (ETFs): Kennedy didn’t hide his apparent disdain for the large investment managers interested in bitcoin, many of whom have submitted bitcoin ETF applications to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

“They're funneling people into these ETFs,” he said. “As soon as they create a central bank digital currency (CBDC), BlackRock will transform those ETFs from bitcoin into CBDCs and trap us all in that kind of slavery.”

  • Censorship: A recent controversial video posted by the New York Post shows Kennedy saying “COVID-19 attacks certain races disproportionately.” He has also been a vehement critic of vaccines and has demanded better vaccine safety. He’s been called a bigot and an anti-vaxxer, but during the Twitter Spaces, claimed that all these labels are simply underhanded attempts to censor him.

“I'm getting slandered, silenced and censored,” he said. “When people hear me talk, they realize that I'm not a crazy person, not an anti-Semite, not an anti-vaxxer.”

Kennedy is currently polling somewhere in the mid-teens among Democratic voters according to polling website FiveThirtyEight. Incumbent Joe Biden, despite concerns about his age, is still the first choice for most Democrats, the site shows.

Among bitcoiners however, RFK Jr. is a top pick.

“Bitcoiners are a different breed,” Kennedy said. “They are ideologically based. They are people who love freedom.”

Edited by Stephen Alpher.


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Frederick  Munawa

Frederick Munawa was a Technology Reporter for Coindesk. He covered blockchain protocols with a specific focus on bitcoin and bitcoin-adjacent networks.

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