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Opinion | The Strange Alliance of Crypto and MAGA Believers – The New York Times

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Paul Krugman

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Josh Mandel, a Trump disciple seeking the Republican Senate nomination in Ohio, recently tweeted out what he stands for: “Ohio must be a pro-God, pro-family, pro-Bitcoin state.” Indeed, there has long been a strong connection between support for Bitcoin and right-wing extremism — like the traditional association between conservatism and an obsession with gold, only more so.
So what’s that about?
Now, the fact that many Bitcoin enthusiasts say bizarre things does not, in itself, mean that cryptocurrencies are a bad idea. People can support the right things for the wrong reasons. I’m sure, for example, that many people accept the scientific consensus on, say, vaccine effectiveness not because they value peer-reviewed research but because they are impressed by people in lab coats who use big words.
Still, it does seem important to understand the cultish aspects of the cryptocurrency movement.
First, however, a bit (ahem) about the economics.
I still sometimes encounter people who say that we live in a digital age, so we should be using digital money. But we already do! Like many people, I pay for most things by clicking a mouse, tapping my debit card or pressing a button on my phone. I used to keep singles in my wallet to buy fruit and vegetables from New York’s ubiquitous sidewalk stands, but these days even they often accept Venmo.
All of these payments, however, depend on trusting a third party: People accept debit cards, Apple Pay, Venmo and so on because they’re linked to a bank account. Bitcoin’s whole purpose, as laid out in its original 2008 white paper, was to remove the need for that kind of trust: It would validate payments using methods related to cryptography — coded communication. The goal was to create a peer-to-peer system of payments independent of financial institutions.
But why do this? Are banks that untrustworthy? I’ve been in many meetings in which crypto skeptics ask, as respectfully as they can, for simple examples of things you can do better or more cheaply with cryptocurrency than via other forms of payment. I still haven’t heard a clear example that didn’t involve illegal activity — which may, to be fair, be easier to hide if you use crypto.
And the truth is that although Bitcoin has been around a long time by internet standards — 13 years! — it and other cryptocurrencies have made hardly any inroads into the traditional role of money, as a medium of exchange used to purchase goods and services. Hard numbers are scarce, but it looks as if a vast majority of cryptocurrency transactions involve market speculation rather than the ordinary business of life.
Yet Bitcoin and its rivals now have a combined market valuation of more than $1 trillion. What do investors think they’re buying?
One answer is protection against the perennial fear that governments will inflate away all your wealth — as a recent Bloomberg article put it, some billionaires are buying crypto in case money “goes to hell.” Indeed, there have been 57 hyperinflations in the world that we know about. However, they all took place amid political and social chaos; do you really think that in such an environment you’d be able to get online and cash in your Bitcoins?
There’s also FOMO — fear of missing out. Bitcoin has hit a sort of marketing sweet spot: It sounds high-tech and futuristic while also playing to political paranoia. The resulting capital gains have led many apolitical investors to feel that they need to get in on the game, while also probably inducing public figures like Eric Adams, New York’s new mayor, to talk up Bitcoin because they imagine it makes them appear forward-looking.
But do the confused rationales for Bitcoin mean that it’s destined to implode? Not necessarily. After all, gold stopped functioning as a medium of exchange generations ago, yet its value hasn’t collapsed. And we shouldn’t discount the importance of illegal activity. There’s about $1.6 trillion worth of $100 bills in circulation — 80 percent of all U.S. currency — even though large-denomination bills are very hard for ordinary consumers to spend. What do you think people are doing with all those Benjamins?
But let’s leave market predictions aside and ask what’s with the deepening alliance between Bitcoin and MAGA?
The answer, I’d argue, is that Bitcoin was supposed to create a monetary system that functions without trust — and the modern right is all about fostering distrust. Covid is a hoax; the election was stolen; California’s forest fires had nothing to do with climate change, and they were started by Rothschild-controlled space lasers.
In this context it’s perfectly natural for MAGAesque politicians to demand an end to a monetary system that runs through banks — we know who controls them, right? — and rests on a currency that’s managed by government-appointed officials. There’s no evidence of widespread monetary abuse, but that doesn’t matter on the extreme right.
The point, then, is that while there are real economic issues associated with cryptocurrencies, their rise has a lot to do with the broader political madness that has American democracy on the brink.
The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.
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Bitcoin Is '100 Times Better Than Gold,' Michael Saylor Says – Here's Why | Bitcoinist.com – Bitcoinist

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Bitcoin and gold are both valuable assets that can be used to protect against inflation; nevertheless, there are important differences between the two in terms of their history, accessibility, and other sources of demand.
Gold, undoubtedly, has a lengthy history and solid basis, while Bitcoin has barely more than a decade of existence to prove its worth as an inflation hedge.
In November of last year, the price of a single BTC soared beyond $65,000, setting a new record high. This increase was related to the introduction of a Bitcoin exchange traded fund in the United States; while others during the year were due to events involving Tesla and Coinbase, respectively.
As of this writing, BTC is trading at $$19,058.84, down 5.5% in the last seven days, data from Coingecko show, Sunday.
Despite the fact that BTC has lost over 73% of its value since its all-time high in 2021, crypto bull and MicroStrategy co-founder and CEO Michael Saylor is unfazed.
Not only does he think the digital coin will regain its former glory, but he also thinks the cryptocurrency has a lot of room to grow beyond its current high point.
While the value of the most popular cryptocurrency in the world has been falling in recent weeks, MicroStrategy has been buying the dip. With 130,000 BTCs in its vault, it is sitting on nearly $4 billion of the crypto.
“I think that the next logical stop for Bitcoin is to replace gold as a non-sovereign store of value asset and gold is a $10 trillion asset as we speak. Bitcoin is digital gold, it’s 100x better than gold,” Saylor said during the Money Festival hosted by MarketWatch on Wednesday.
Bitcoin has a market cap of around $365 billion, according to data by TradingView on Sunday.
And during the festival’s Best New Ideas segment, Saylor didn’t hold back when he predicted the crypto’s price tag may reach $500,000 within the next decade.
“The half-life of money in crypto is forever. You can move it on billions of computers at the speed of light. So if Bitcoin goes to the value of the yellow metal, it’s going to $500,000 per coin, and I think that happens this decade,” Saylor pointed out.
According to MarketWatch, Saylor has around 17,732 Bitcoins that he purchased for around $9,500. Meanwhile, MicroStrategy’s stock price has fallen almost 65% this year, just like Bitcoin.

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Freelance writing is Jet’s other cup of tea. When not on his computer, he unwinds with a cold bottle of beer and laughs with his son over cartoons. Other than that, he’s just like everybody else who wants to be happy with their life.
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Cryptocurrency prices today under pressure: Bitcoin falls 3%, ether 6%; Uniswap gains | Mint – Mint

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  • The global cryptocurrency market cap today remained below the $1 trillion mark

Cryptocurrency prices today came under pressure after the US Federal Reserve delivered another big interest-rate hike and warned of economic pain from the aggressive policy tightening still to come. The Fed’s determination to raise rates to levels that hammer inflation at the cost of sliding asset prices sent a chill across global markets.
Bitcoin, the world’s largest and most popular cryptocurrency, was trading more than 2% lower at $18,627, came close to dropping below $18,000 level. The global crypto market cap today remained below the $1 trillion mark, as it was down over 2% in the last 24 hours at $943 billion, as per CoinGecko. On the other hand, Ether, the coin linked to the ethereum blockchain and the second largest cryptocurrency, continued to underperform and fell more than 6% at $1,260.
“Bitcoin, Ethereum, and most cryptocurrencies traded lower on late Wednesday after the Federal Reserve raised interest rates by 75 basis points marking the third consecutive time this year. BTC continues to struggle below the $19,000 since bears are more powerful than bulls in the market. The second largest crypto, Ethereum was seen changing hands above the $1,200 level. The price of ETH has been dipping since the Merge took place as miners continued to dump their ETH in the market coupled with macroeconomic factors. If the selling pressure from miners increases, ETH is likely to fall below the $1,000 level,” said Edul Patel, CEO and Co-founder of Mudrex.
Meanwhile, dogecoin price today was also trading about 3% lower at $0.05 whereas Shiba Inu slipped more than a per cent to $0.000011. Other crypto prices’ today performance also declined as XRP, Stellar, Solana, Polygon, Avalanche, Binance USD, Polkadot, Litecoin, Apecoin, Cardano, Chainlink, Tron, Tether prices were trading with cuts over the last 24 hours, whereas Uniswap gained.
Such a backdrop offers little respite for crypto markets. They were already reeling from a $2 trillion plunge from a 2021 record high, an unraveling pockmarked with blowups such as the Three Arrows Capital hedge fund and the Terraform Labs project — whose co-founder Do Kwon is wanted by authorities.
(With inputs from agencies)
 
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Bitcoin's Accumulated Momentum Is Going To Be Hard To Stop – Bitcoin Magazine

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While "the smartest people in the room" scan the horizon, bitcoiners are out there actually building the future they want to live in.
The below is a direct excerpt of Marty's Bent Issue #1259: "Bitcoin is action. The accumulated momentum is going to be hard to stop." Sign up for the newsletter here.
This morning I listened to a recent Macro Voices podcast with Brent Johnson from Santiago Capital. It was a very good conversation about the state of the global economy, particularly focused on the dollar's relative strength against other currencies and how things may play out as the dollar continues to strengthen as prophesied by the "Dollar Milkshake" theory. Here's a link to the episode for those interested.
Toward the end of their discussion Erik (the host) and Brent make it clear without saying anything explicitly that it is insane that global markets are essentially beholden to the whims of a very select few people, central bankers, out of the billions who are alive on this planet. The fact that the world hinges on the cryptic language of people who are completely disconnected from reality and do not suffer the consequences of their actions is a bit baffling. With that being said, what I'd like to focus on is the fact the Erik and Brent ended their conversation with a brief detour to discuss the next world reserve currency. Both gentlemen acknowledged that it would likely be a cryptocurrency – likely produced by one of the governments or a coalition of governments – and will certainly not be bitcoin.
To your Uncle Marty, this is an incredibly hilarious line of thinking from a couple of individuals who seem to "get it" in regards to the fact that the fiat system is doomed for failure and it's failure is being driven by incompetent central planners. To think that the solution to bad central planning from an incompetent group will be better central planning from the same group via a fresh slate a CBDC or something like it would provide. Even funnier is the fact that they emphatically proclaim that bitcoin most certainly will not become the dominant money in the world while deriding "bitcoin maximalists". This is our edge, freaks.
While "the smartest people in the room" scan the horizon waiting to place their bets on something that hasn't materialized yet and is sure to end in failure if it ever does because it will suffer from the same centralized attributes that doomed the dollar, bitcoiners are out there actually building the future they want to live in. The macro mensches of the world can continue to sit on the sideline and pontificate about what they think will come to market. Bitcoiners will continue to act and bring their distributed, censorship resistant, sound money to market. And the headstart bitcoin has amassed is approaching insurmountable. It is a step-function improvement on the incumbent monetary system in every way.
It's provably scarce and extremely hard to change.
You can send it over the internet.
You can divide more granularly.
It is extremely hard to prevent someone from receiving or sending bitcoin if used correctly.
And, what might be the most underappreciated aspect, it is beginning to become an integral part of the energy sector. And as we're finding out now energy is pretty damn important. Arguably the most important asset on the planet. Bitcoin becoming an essential for energy producers makes it significantly harder to kill from a logistical and political perspective.
We are so early.

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