Trump cites merchandise sales in apparent bitcoin U-turn

This represents a change in course for Trump, who previously told the BBC that bitcoin “seems like a scam.”

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Former US President Donald Trump | Evan El-Amin/Shutterstock modified by Blockworks

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Former President Donald Trump says he is “not sure” if he would crack down on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies after alleging that digital assets were a popular form of payment for his recently-launched sneaker collection. 

“I noticed that so many of them were paid for with this, with the new currency,” Trump said of accepting crypto as payment for his new footwear launch during an interview Monday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” 

“People were going crazy for these sneakers. You probably were, too. Everybody was. Every friend I have had called me for a pair of sneakers. And I noticed that so many of them were paid for with the new currency. It’s a new cryptocurrency. I couldn’t believe the amount,” he added. 

Read more: I attended Trump’s NFT gala. Here’s why it matters

Trump claimed Monday that the “last pair” in the sneaker collection sold for $450,000, not specifying whether the transaction was completed in fiat or crypto. Each sneaker in the collection was originally sold for $399 a pair, and Blockworks was unable to verify a $450,000 shoe sale amount on any secondary markets at press time.

It was previously reported that someone listed a pair of the shoes for $45,000 — not $450,000 — on eBay. However, it is unclear whether or not they sold for that amount. At time of publication, a pair of the shoes recently sold for $5,100 on eBay.

“If you think of it, it’s an additional form of currency and I used to say, ‘I want one currency, I want the dollar, I don’t want people leaving the dollar,’” Trump said. 

“But I will tell you, it has taken on a life,” the former President added. “And I’m not sure that I’d want to take it away at this point.”

It’s not the first time the presumed Republican nominee has cashed in on the public’s growing interest in digital assets. His NFT collection last year earned at least six figures of income, according to 2023 financial disclosures. 

Even so, Trump maintained that dollar dominance is still essential. 

“I hate when countries go off the dollar. I would not allow countries to go off the dollar because when we lose that standard, that will be like losing a revolutionary war,” Trump said. “That will be a hit to our country just like losing a war, and we can’t let that happen.” 

Read more: America deserves a financial alternative — and it’s crypto

Trump’s comments come after Anthony Scaramucci, founder of alternative investment firm SkyBridge, said in an X Space last week that another Trump presidency would likely not be good for bitcoin.

“I did read the Constitution and I did go to law school,” said Scaramucci, who briefly worked as the White House communications director for ten days in 2017 under Trump. “[Trump’s] people are absolutely nuts, and you don’t want him to return to the presidency.”

Trump has previously tweeted negatively about bitcoin. In 2019, for example, the then-president said bitcoin and other crypto assets “are not money” — adding that their values are “highly volatile and based on thin air.”

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In 2021, Trump told the BBC that bitcoin “seems like a scam.” 

“I don’t like it because it’s another currency competing against the dollar,” he added. 

Scaramucci noted that while many voters tend to think Republicans are more favorable toward crypto, Trump is the exception. 

“He really doesn’t have an opinion one way or another, but there are people who in general think [a] Republican [means] less regulation,” Scaramucci said. “But this is not a garden-variety Republican; this is a dangerous man with a very, very smart, well-disciplined team.”

Trump is currently leading in the Republican Presidential primary as the only candidate from the party still in the race. The former president currently faces four criminal indictments, totaling 91 felony counts. 

On the civil front, Trump was found liable for sexual abuse and defamation against writer E. Jean Carol in 2023. In a separate proceeding, a federal jury awarded Carroll $83.3 million. 

The former president also owes $454 million in civil penalties after being found liable for fraudulent financial reporting. Trump is appealing the case but is required to pay the full amount or purchase a bond to cover it by March 25. 

Trump’s next legal hurdle comes this week in his classified documents case, in which prosecutors allege he mishandled confidential information at his Florida estate. Judge Aileen M. Cannon is scheduled to hear arguments related to two of Trump’s dismissal motions on Thursday in a hearing that is expected to take several days. 

Ben Strack contributed reporting.


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