Aug 4, 2023

Bitcoin and crypto have become unexpected talking points on the U.S. Presidential campaign trail.

Video transcript

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who is now also a Republican candidate for president Mayor Suarez. Thank you for joining us. How are you doing? Uh It's great to be with you. Have a big announcement today, which is that officially my campaign is accepting Bitcoin and you can do that uh by going to my website Francis soars dot com and donate as little as 0.000034 of a Bitcoin. Um uh which roughly equi you know, is the equivalent of a US dollar. So, uh but of course, I denominated in Bitcoin, not a dollar. So I look, I think um it's a watershed moment for the country to have a candidate who gets their public sector salary paid in Bitcoin. Um And uh has actually borrowed money against that Bitcoin account uh creating more utility for Bitcoin and showing that um it is an asset that has value uh that has utility. Um And this is uh you know, this is a process uh of developing technologies that are going to create democratizing opportunities for wealth creation and are not manipulated by a human beings that have uh you know, alternative motives. Uh political uh goals, et cetera. Yeah. Interesting. That's a very interesting development. Uh Will Foxley, our resident Bitcoin Maxi was joyously celebrating that announcement as a role. 11 BT C equals one BT C. He loved that as well. I guess my question, I'm super fascinated to see crypto Bitcoin CBD C even emerge as a real time talking point in the 2024 elections. CBD CS specifically, I think especially in Florida with Governor desantis have become a major lightning rod. I really want your thoughts on why Bitcoin crypto CBD CS are entering the political calculus for this cycle's presidential race. It's really simple. It's because under Bino the poor are getting poor. Uh And that means uh rising inflation and rising interest rates because there's out of control spending, there's no check and balance on the monetary system. Um What happens is the federal government goes crazy, starts giving away free money and then the fed which sees rising inflation, which means that people's purchasing power goes down. Literally, if you have money in your bank account, you literally get poor. And then on the other side, they say, hey, we gotta stop this. So they start raising interest rates. So now you get hit by both sides, your purchasing power and the money you have in your bank account goes down and then your borrowing costs go up. So you're literally getting attacked by both sides of the ledger and, and, and that makes people want to hedge and get away from that to a system that isn't controlled by politics. Uh, that is completely decentralized, that is completely secure, completely liquid. You can get in and out of it at any time of the day. Um, and, and that's why you've seen, you know, Bitcoins run, uh, this year, uh, which is up, you know, significantly from the beginning of the year. So look again and I don't, you know, I'm not here to give investment advice. I'm not telling people what to do, but what I am saying is, look at the fundamentals of how the system works, right? And do your due diligence. And I think that uh you know that well, for a system, which probably to me, from my perspective, I'm not afraid of that world, right? Because the the US should be judged on their economic might and we are economically mighty when we have a strong economy, when we don't have a bunch of deficits. Uh You saw today of Brazil talking about Lula, talking about Dedo, right? I mean, this de dollarization campaign is happening uh worldwide. And so we're gonna have to compete in a different way. We're gonna have to compete, not because we're the world's greatest currency, but because we're the world's greatest economy. And I think that's if we focus on the digital economy, right? Artificial intelligence, quantum computing and virtual reality, obviously, crypto all these things, we're gonna create a generation's worth of prosperity. We did it in Miami. We're number one in wage growth, lowest unemployment in America, high, highest tech job growth and highest gen Z tech worker growth. Right? So why, because we want to lean into, um you know, these, these generational opportunities by, I've taken a lot of heat for it. I've gotten criticized a lot uh, for it. Uh People will often say, oh, we're in a crypto winter. You know, what do you think? You know? Uh Do you regret supporting crypto in a state? Absolutely not. Number one, we were number one in Blockchain investments. We were up 2000%. We had $800 million of investments in Blockchain companies. But in addition to that, uh I know that these are technology that are here to stay one company, another may win or may lose, but the technology is here to stay and it's going to revolutionize the future. The Miami Coin episode versus your personal conviction in Bitcoin, which is something we can maybe get to a bit later. Thanks for unpacking some of those red meat issues. Uh Obviously, to the Republican base seems pretty animated by this stuff. I want to talk to Danny. I know he has a question and then we can continue the conversation. Yeah, Mayor Suarez, thank you for joining us. Uh I'm curious to hear how if elected president, you would change how the system works in the US when it comes to crypto policy? Like, what is your vision for the crypto economy in the United States? And what could you do to change it to better it? What's your vision? I think the biggest mistake this administration has made is that they don't understand crypto. Um So they have uh gone to a regulate by enforcement um mechanism as opposed to, in my opinion, set the ground rules, right? So you have to be able to classify certain digital products. Uh you have to be able to have certain guidelines and rules that are clear with respect to uh cus cus you know, custody of assets. Uh and, and, and by the way, the, the the players in the game will tell you they want rules, they just wanna know what the rules are so they can play by the rules. A lot of these offshore companies should have been American and onshore companies. It's a tremendous opportunity for us uh to bring investment to our country. Um So for me on day one, I would create an industry roundtable and, and create a set of regulations that are a, that don't advantage anybody, right? That they, they're not meant to advantage anybody. What they're meant to do is make sure that you can uh create an innovative ecosystem and uh um and uh economy based on these products where everybody knows what the rules are clearly. Yes. Uh Mayor Suarez, um So Rhoda San, the Governor Rhoda Santi has said he would ban a digital dollar or CBD C if he's elected president, would you do the same? Oh, yeah. I mean, that's easy. Of course. I mean, that, you know, that's an easy position to take. Uh, I, I think the harder position is, is to, to, to find out what are you for in terms of Bitcoin? Uh, and in terms of, uh, you know, other, uh, technologies related to Blockchain. Right. But III I think banning CD BC Central Bank, uh uh digital currencies is easy. Nobody wants the federal government or any government knowing where you have your money, how much money you have, etcetera. Um It's a violation of our, our rights of privacy. Uh And I don't think anybody wants that. So I think that's a very easy position to take. I don't think that there's anything particularly innovative about that. Um But, but certainly, uh I have never been a fan of, of central bank digital currencies. You know, I'll jump in here for one last question. Just going towards the Bitcoin angle. There's a lot of talk among other Republican candidates for president talking about their different policy opinions on Bitcoin at this point. I'm just sort of curious if it's just a talking point again that we typically see in the run up to elections or we actually like moving past that towards where Bitcoin is an important discussion point for, for candidates for policy reasons. I, I think people are starting to realize how many uh enthusiasts there are, how big the ecosystem is and, and, and look, nothing motivates politicians more than voters, right? And votes uh AAA. And certainly, uh when you start to see that the ecosystem is large enough, I think that's part of it. I think the other part of it is when you see how poorly our monetary system has been managed, right? And the stability of the current Bitcoin uh uh infrastructure and how it's been stable versus, you know, vis a vis liquidity, stable vis a vis hacking stable vis a vis policy because you know, the creation, you know, having schedule, you know how, how, how, how it's in, you know, inflation sort of inflationary uh creation of money uh or Bitcoin and, and you also know that it's asymptotic, right? That it's gonna get to 21 million and then that's it, there's not gonna be any more issue and it's, you know, highly divisible. Uh I just talked about uh you know, contributing 0.000034 Bitcoin, right? So it's a highly divisible uh asset. So I, I think there's so many strengths. Uh and you know, it, it's, it's gotten to a point where you can't put the genie back in the bottle. I was just reading an article today about how China uh is banning Bitcoin, but yet that there's, you know, millions and billions of dollars of Bitcoin transactions that are happening. Uh One last question we'll sneak in uh just for your personal take, you know, FTX saga is unfolding. We have the coin base uh sparring with the sec, a ripple labs judgment very much uh many things going on in the regulatory sphere. Uh Specifically, I'm gonna ask you about FTX, right. FTX Arena was a visible part of the Miami scene for a while there before FTX wound down and uh was alleged to be a massive fraud. What are your comments on FTX? And what do you hope to see happen to SBF? Look, I think, uh what happened there was, you had AAA good technology right? In so far as, uh you had an exchange and then unfortunately, they took the custodial assets and started gambling with it. That's what it appears to be. Uh, and, and, and, and that's the problem. Like you can't do that, uh, in a bank right now, right? You can't just take people's money and start betting it in high yield instruments and they fooled a lot of people. I mean, you know, a lot of people, um, uh, which were very sophisticated investors. Uh, you see their, their, um, their investor debt full of the, the, the most sophisticated investors in the world were fooled. Um, and I think, you know, at the end of the day, it, it, it appears that uh, that fraud occurred in terms of uh what was being done with these custodial assets and, and listen, when something like that happens at that massive scale, um the people have to be held accountable. Well, thank you for joining us, mayor. That's Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami, also a Republican presidential candidate in the 2024 race. Thanks so much for your time. Thanks guys. Good to talk to you.

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 to register and buy your pass now.