Crypto Insiders Hope for Possible Mention in Biden-Trump Debate

Some in the industry have been pushing for host CNN to ensure digital assets come up in the televised presidential faceoff.

AccessTimeIconJun 26, 2024 at 8:41 p.m. UTC
Updated Jun 26, 2024 at 8:44 p.m. UTC

This U.S. presidential election has been the first where cryptocurrencies have come up as a major policy issue, and the industry is lobbying (and bracing for) the possibility that President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump may bring it up when they face off in a Thursday debate.

To that end, crypto advocacy group Stand With Crypto set up an online letter-writing campaign to convince hosts CNN to raise crypto as a talking point. A spokeswoman for the group said Wednesday that almost 2,300 people had signed and sent the notes "calling for a crypto question."

"It would be a huge miss for CNN to punt this opportunity to let Americans know where the presidential candidates stand on this important economic issue," spokeswoman Sabrina Siddiqui told CoinDesk. She pointed out that the group's number of members in Georgia, where the 9 p.m. EDT (01:00 UTC) event will take place, far exceeds the gap between the candidates in their previous 2020 contest.

The form letter from Stand With Crypto concludes: "Giving the major presidential candidates a chance to weigh in on this transformational technology in the first debate would go a long way towards educating the electorate and helping American crypto owners cast an informed ballot."

Biden's record on digital assets is familiar to the industry, which need only review his executive orders, White House statements and the actions of the U.S. regulators he appointed, including at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Trump's administration didn't make significant moves in crypto, and his past position of skepticism has only recently turned toward glowing support of the technology.

“It’s remarkable that we are discussing crypto as a possible topic on the biggest stage in presidential politics – and a marker of how much headway the industry has made in communicating its value to the national political debate," said Kristin Smith, CEO of the Blockchain Association, in an emailed statement. "The crypto industry – and its growing base of users – are eager for a sustained debate between the candidates on their approach to digital assets, and feel energized that it has emerged as an important topic in this election.”

Trump has emerged as a vocal supporter of U.S. crypto mining and as an opponent of the U.S. issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC), seeking to contrast himself with Biden's efforts to tax miners and his administration's interest in studying CBDCs.

"We appreciate that candidates recognize the importance of not only debating how to regulate digital assets but also how to create responsible regulation that does not stifle innovation in the United States," said a spokesperson for the DeFi Education Fund.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.


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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.