The past few weeks have been an absolute flurry for the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency space. Facebook’s launch of Libra awoke something in the public, forcing anyone and everyone to take note of this budding industry.
Most recently, the United States House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy gave cryptocurrencies his nod, actually taking some time in a CNBC interview to laud Bitcoin, effectively disregarding Trump’s stance on the matter.
Pro-Bitcoin Lawmaker Takes to CNBC
For the past few months, CNBC’s “Squawk Box” show has featured some segments on cryptocurrencies. On Tuesday, CNBC anchor Joe Kernen called on McCarthy, asking the lawmaker about this asset class. Surprisingly, the Representative (California) was bullish. He stated:
“I like Bitcoin. Is it where it needs to be? No, but the real thing I like when it comes to Bitcoin is blockchain, because I like the security.”
McCarthy didn’t expand on this thought. But, he is likely referring to the ideas that the Bitcoin blockchain is nearly impossible to penetrate due to its absurdly high hash power, and that transactions are hard to be reversed and censored.
After giving Bitcoin his stamp of approval, McCarthy went on to bash Facebook’s Libra. Echoing the concerns of U.S. House Representative Maxine Waters and the Bank of International Settlements, the Californian politician expressed concern about the centralization and monopolistic aspects of the cryptocurrency project:
“If you’re already a big, powerful company, that you can pay $10 million, you can enter this and you’re gonna take away all competition. So you can only use Uber, so you can only go to one certain bank, so you can only use Facebook.”
He also called attention to data, and the power that Facebook may gain by making a sortie into financial services. McCarthy’s warning can be likened to one from Phil Chen at HTC EXODUS, which, as reported by Blockonomi previously, mentioned how Libra may give the social media company a chance to eliminate digital privacy almost entirely.
Bitcoin Bulls Go Mainstream
McCarthy joins a growing list of investors, mainstream media personalities, technologists, and politicians that have begun to laud Bitcoin publicly.
Out of the many “converts” is Mark Mobius. In 2017 and 2018, the legendary emerging markets investor lauded China for cracking down on cryptocurrencies, claiming that the only use for some of these assets is “illicit activities”. Now, however, Mobius has claimed that he may buy Bitcoin if it continues to grow, especially looking to its viability as a borderless remittance medium and how institutions are flooding into the cryptocurrency markets.
Another is Chamath Palihapitiya, a former executive of Facebook and venture capitalist. On “Squawk Box”, the Social Capital chief executive explained that Bitcoin is the perfect hedge “against the traditional financial infrastructure”. He elaborated that if fiscal or monetary policy is wonky, as it arguably is now, having Bitcoin is like “the schmuck insurance you have under your mattress”.
While the bulls may have the star power, so to speak, the bears are arguably more powerful. You see, just recently some of the most important individuals in American finance have come out against Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
Speaking in a press conference, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin noted that “cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin” have been “exploited” to facilitate illicit activity worth billions. Mnuchin claims that said criminal activities that are known to involve Bitcoin and other decentralized digital assets include “tax evasion, extortion, ransomware, [the sale of] illicit drugs, and human trafficking”. And thus, the Treasury Secretary dubbed cryptocurrencies a “national security issue”.
Mnuchin’s presser on the matter of cryptocurrencies comes after Donald Trump publicly lambasted Bitcoin and Libra on Twitter, touching on illicit activity, volatility, and regulations.