- President Donald Trump bashed cryptocurrencies in the past and is calling for more federal regulation over digital currencies
- Sources say the U.S. government’s 2021 budget might be more symbolic than practical
- Trump’s dislike of crypto may ultimately help boost its public profile
Donald Trump is building his disdain for cryptocurrency into the U.S. government’s 2021 budget. This comes after tweets back in July 2019 when he claimed cryptocurrency was “based on thin air” and “can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity.”
The 138-page Budget of the U.S. Government for the Fiscal Year 2021 wants to return the U.S. Secret Service back to the Department of Treasury. It has been a part of the Department of Homeland Security since 2002. Cybercrime, which includes illegal activity involving cryptocurrency like cryptojacking, is within the Secret Service’s domain.
The budget also requests $127 million for the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the Department of the Treasury.
State of Affairs
FinCEN has already been stringent with its crypto rules. Crypto exchanges must verify their users’ identities, identify the original parties and beneficiaries of transfers of $3000 or higher, and transit that information to counterparties if they exist.
The Cryptocurrency Act of 2020 also proposes that FinCEN regulates cryptocurrencies, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) oversees crypto-commodities and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulates crypto-securities.
These budget developments may have stemmed from a conversation that former United States National Security Advisor John Bolton overheard between Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. In his new book, The Room Where it Happened, Bolton reveals that Trump told Mnuchin to “go after Bitcoin” when discussing trade sanctions and tariffs against China in May 2018.
All For Naught?
But many are criticizing Trump’s budget proposals; not to mention that crypto advocates challenged his claim that crypto is criminals’ currency of choice (spoiler: they prefer the US dollar).
Some reports say that Trump’s $4.8 trillion budget is largely a political document and will be dead on arrival. Senate Budget Chairman Mike Enzi won’t be holding a hearing on Trump’s plan, Politico reported. He didn’t hold a hearing for former President Barack Obama’s budget either, the Wyoming Republican said. In fact, no one has listened to the president during Enzi’s 23-year tenure.
Even if Trump views crypto as a threat, his budget reforms tell us digital currencies are gaining traction against its fiat counterpart. And his tweets no doubt introduced crypto to new audiences and fired up those already familiar with its benefits.
Trump also appointed Bitcoin supporter Mick Mulvaney as acting Chief of Staff in January 2019. Mulvaney’s relationship with bitcoin dates back to July 2014 when he attended an educational event on cryptocurrencies hosted on Capitol Hill. But the crypto community on Twitter and Reddit argued his stance. He resigned in March of this year.