Bitcoin isn’t right or left — it’s forward

We shouldn’t let bitcoin’s potential become overshadowed by political maneuvering

OPINION
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Melnikov Dmitriy/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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Bitcoin and crypto are quickly becoming a campaign issue in the 2024 election. And so we now find ourselves at a critical juncture where bitcoin could either become a bipartisan issue or fall victim to the pitfalls of hyper-politicization. 

Writing about the politics of bitcoin, I think it is only fair to identify myself as a progressive, though I have worked for both President Clinton at his Foundation’s Islands Energy Program and President Trump at the US Department of Energy. Through my work, I’ve come to understand that bitcoin has intrinsic value for everyone, regardless of political affiliation. 

Today, however, the challenge lies in ensuring that bitcoin’s potential isn’t overshadowed by political maneuvering.

Recently, President Trump has incorporated a “pro-bitcoin” stance into his stump speeches, signaling a notable shift in his political strategy. Now reports suggest that President Biden is also engaging with crypto stakeholders in order to explore how he too can appeal to the burgeoning bitcoin/crypto enthusiast community. 

This newfound political interest from both ends of the spectrum presents a unique opportunity — and a significant risk.

Bitcoin is a neutral technology, much like the internet. It holds immense potential to reshape our financial systems, offering a permissionless and open monetary system. However, its future depends heavily on how we craft policy around it, and more crucially, how it is perceived by people across the ideological spectrum. This policy-making process should be inclusive, measured and aimed at unlocking bitcoin’s potential for all, rather than being swayed by the political winds of the moment. 

I believe that bitcoin can either help unify our politics or become another battleground. 

Thought leaders in the bitcoin and crypto space have voiced concerns over the current administration’s anti-industry stance. They argue that the clear moves by the administration to stymie bitcoin and crypto in the US — like by vetoing the bipartisan FIT21 bill — make engagement fruitless.

While these concerns are valid, it is crucial to recognize the danger of imbuing bitcoin with political ideologies. Doing so risks alienating a significant portion of the population, namely progressives and those identifying on the left, who might otherwise find value in this technology. Instead, bitcoin advocates should strive to keep the technology’s inherently neutral stance, focusing on its potential benefits across the political spectrum.

Read more from our opinion section: Only a fool would vote on crypto alone

Bitcoin adoption is not just inevitable — it is essential. But rushing to embrace any candidate who offers superficial support for bitcoin without a thoughtful and inclusive approach can lead to shortsighted policies that may hinder its long-term potential. Instead, a slow, deliberate and inclusive policy-making process will better serve bitcoin’s growth and integration into our financial systems.

We must also remember that policy is not inherently an existential threat to bitcoin; rather, it is the social adoption of bitcoin that will define its future. If we truly believe in bitcoin as a revolutionary financial system, we must strive to make it inclusive. This means reaching out to historically excluded groups such as women and youth to ensure they feel welcome in the bitcoin community. Building a diverse and inclusive bitcoin ecosystem will help foster broader acceptance and integration, making the technology more resilient and robust.

In my role with the Sustainable Bitcoin Protocol, a global initiative focused on bringing transparency and sustainability to the bitcoin mining industry, I see firsthand the importance of responsible and inclusive approaches to technology. Our efforts to prove the sustainability and positive impact of bitcoin mining are part of a broader movement to ensure that bitcoin’s growth benefits everyone, not just a select few.

​​The climate movement serves as a poignant example of how crucial issues can become gate-kept by partisan divides, undermining collective action. Some conservatives and right-leaning individuals perceive climate change efforts as intrinsically tied to liberal agendas. In part, this is a deliberate politicization that has complicated bipartisan success despite the shared threat posed by climate inaction. This polarization stymies progress on what should be a consensus and bipartisan effort, though we may disagree on exactly what solutions to implement. 

In the context of bitcoin, we must avoid a similar fate. By maintaining its neutrality and fostering inclusive, bipartisan dialogue, we can ensure that bitcoin’s transformative potential benefits everyone, transcending political boundaries.

By educating the public and fostering a deeper understanding of bitcoin, we can help demystify the technology and build a more informed and inclusive community. Recent initiatives like the Bitcoin Voter Project, which aims to support education and awareness about bitcoin, are crucial examples in this regard.

As we navigate this pivotal moment, it is imperative to avoid the trap of politicizing bitcoin. Instead, we should focus on its potential to bring positive change to our financial systems. This requires a bipartisan approach, one that values thoughtful policy-making over political expediency. 

We should remember that politicizing bitcoin is like putting a party flag on the moon — it’s a disservice to its universal potential.

The future of bitcoin hinges on our ability to ignore our impulses and desire for our “tribes” to win, and follow the better angels of our nature in order to transcend political divides. We must be wary of politicians who offer superficial support without a genuine commitment to inclusive and sustainable growth. Bitcoin is more than just a technology — it is a movement towards a more open and equitable financial system. Let us ensure that this movement is not co-opted by partisan politics but remains a beacon of hope and progress for all. 

Bitcoin isn’t about left or right; it’s about forward.



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