Ron DeSantis Posturing On Bitcoin Is Just Performative Politics

DeSantis says that the Biden administration will ban Bitcoin. Good luck with that.


Planet Crypto for Blockworks


Politicians want you to take a side. It’s how they stay in power: Not by promising you anything good, but by promising you that people who disagree with you will do something bad.

And by getting you to send them money as a result.

Crypto is not exempt from their posturing.

In our industry right now there’s a pretty simple narrative: Democrats bad! Republicans good!

It’s more complex than that.

On the whole, Democrats closely aligned with Biden and Warren are proving ever-more hostile to the crypto industry. This is unacceptable and deserves to be called out.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean running to the Republicans who are brandishing Bitcoin cred as a shiny new engagement tool.

I am willing to bet that Ron DeSantis has no clue what Bitcoin really stands for, what a CBDC might really entail, or what the real differences between them are.

DeSantis, like Trump before him, is a consummate engagement farmer who appears to make a simple numerical calculation when he comes down on one side or the other of a particular issue: 

Is this a divisive issue? And if so, does it get me more donations?

Politicians dream about issues that have clear and passionate single-issue voters. Abortion. School prayer. LGBTQ rights.

And if those issues also happen to have wealthy devotees? 

“Hello, I’m Ron DeSantis and I’d love to kiss your baby.”

DeSantis is posturing when he signs bills banning CBDCs in Florida — there is no current serious proposal for a CBDC in the USA.

He is posturing when he says the Biden administration will ban Bitcoin — because Bitcoin cannot be banned, even if your access to it can be made harder.

He is posturing when he proclaims himself a friend to Bitcoiners. Because while the Bitcoin ethos embraces decentralization, self-sovereignty, and freedom from censorship, you can be sure that Ron DeSantis stands for none of these ideals.

(He may say he does: But the effects of his bills include banning books and restricting access to education, which is not advocating for freedom from censorship.)

As you can tell, I’m no fan of Ron DeSantis. His advocacy for Bitcoin is empty. 

But by golly, I am even less impressed with Joe Biden and his crew of bank-financed cronies like Brad Sherman and Liz Warren.

Even the hollow sound bites of DeSantis are manna compared to the overtly hostile proclamations of some senior Democrats right now. (As with any generalization, there are exceptions — some members of Congress from both parties have taken the time to educate themselves. Look no further than Senators Cynthia Lummis (R) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D), or to an array of Congresspeople who have backed crypto-related issues.)

When you look at both major parties in the United States, and particularly their gerentocratic leadership, you see a general fear of technology. Republicans have chafed for years at what they perceive as liberal bias in social media algorithms. Democrats come undone when they consider the idea of truly free speech on tech platforms.

Both want to regulate, regulate, regulate until they bend neutral technology to their will. Until they achieve the level of control that suits them… which is simply put: Complete.

But the Democrats are, at least to some extent, in power. They are having to deal with the existential threat that crypto poses to the political duopoly… today. 

Maybe it will be the Republicans who have to deal with it in the next cycle. In which case you can bet your bottom satoshi they’ll be just as hostile in power as Biden is today.

So don’t fall for the ‘us and them’ narrative from politicians about their opposition. It’s a lie.

There is only us, the people who care about the ideals of crypto. And them, the people who resist its inexorable and inevitable rise.

Thanks to Planet Crypto for this week’s illustration.

A version of this op-ed was originally published in the Blockworks newsletter. Subscribe below.

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