On March 11, 2024, former President Donald Trump made an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” where he engaged in a wide-ranging discussion with co-host Joe Kernen. Among various topics, Trump’s commentary on cryptocurrency stood out, especially given the evolving digital currency landscape and its implications for the U.S. dollar and global economy.

Cryptocurrency’s Growing Presence

Trump acknowledged the undeniable growth and acceptance of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, noting their expansion beyond mere speculative assets to becoming a form of currency in their own right. “It [cryptocurrency] has taken on a life of its own,” Trump observed, signaling a shift in his perspective on the digital currency phenomenon.

Personal Anecdotes Reflecting Crypto’s Influence

Highlighting the practical use of cryptocurrencies in contemporary transactions, Trump shared a personal anecdote: “The last pair [of sneakers] sold for approximately, I hear, $450,000… so many of them were paid for with this new currency, this cryptocurrency, and I couldn’t believe the amount.”

The Dollar’s Dominance and International Considerations

Despite recognizing the rise of cryptocurrencies, Trump expressed a strong commitment to maintaining the dominance of the U.S. dollar as the world’s primary reserve currency. He articulated concerns over countries moving away from the dollar, stating, “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. That will be a hit to our country just like losing a war.” Trump’s comments underscore the delicate balance between embracing innovation in the form of cryptocurrencies and safeguarding the status of the U.S. dollar in the global economy.

Regulation and the Future of Cryptocurrencies

In his discussion, Trump also touched upon the regulatory landscape surrounding cryptocurrencies. While not delving deeply into specific policies, his remarks hinted at a cautious openness to the continued growth of cryptocurrencies, albeit with an eye towards preserving traditional financial systems and standards. “I have seen, there has been a lot of use of that [cryptocurrency], and I’m not sure that I’d want to take it away at this point,” Trump mentioned, reflecting his nuanced stance on the issue.

Over the past several weeks, at various campaign stops, Trump has repeatedly raised concerns about potential U.S. government overreach and surveillance if a US CBDC is allowed to happen. For example, at a campaign stop in New Hampshire on January 18, he emphasized his intention to “protect Americans from government tyranny” by opposing the creation of a CBDC, suggesting it could lead to government control over individual finances. 

He said: 

As your president, I will never allow the creation of a central bank digital currency … Such a currency would give a federal government — our federal government — absolute control over your money. They could take your money, and you wouldn’t even know it’s gone.

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