Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will be the first presidential candidate in United States history to accept campaign donations in Bitcoin, he announced during his first appearance as a presidential candidate at the Bitcoin 2023 conference. He praised the cryptocurrency as a “symbol of democracy and freedom” during the event.
“Today, we show the world the power and the durability and the flexibility of Bitcoin. […] Almost everyone in this room is aware of the link between Bitcoin and democracy and freedom. […] They’re passionate because of the deep representation of a deep need that we have for liberty and democracy and the promise that this innovation has to guarantee those virtues.”
The candidate — who is challenging President Joe Biden — has been sharing his libertarian views about cryptocurrencies on Twitter. In a post on May 3, RFK Jr. stated that “crypto technologies are a major innovation engine,” adding that the U.S. is hobbling the industry and driving “innovation elsewhere.”
Kennedy Jr. is the nephew of 35th President of the U.S. John F. Kennedy.
By attending the Bitcoin event, RFK Jr. is not only targeting voters but also a potential source of millions of dollars in donations. During last year’s midterm elections, Sam Bankman-Fried, former CEO of now-bankrupted crypto exchange FTX, donated $40 million in support of candidates. Crypto exchange Coinbase has also been actively lobbying for legislation regulating the crypto space in the country.
RFK Jr.’s increased commitment to cryptocurrencies coincides with a tight regulatory environment in the U.S., spreading uncertainty among players and harming an already battered industry.
The candidate believes the U.S. economy could be more resilient if it has a diverse ecosystem of currencies:
“Just as a biodiverse ecosystem is a resilient ecosystem, so too will our economy be more resilient if it has a diverse ecology of currencies, not just a single, centrally controlled one. We are seeing today how fragile our over-centralized system is.”