Amid wild bitcoin price spikes, Trump administration eyes regulating cryptocurrencies

Amid skyrocketing bitcoin price fluctuations, the Trump administration is considering regulating the currently unregulated cryptocurrency market.

The crypto-phenomenon is a little like President Trump: It’s too big to ignore, and it’s everywhere.

Bitcoin, once an obscure investment vehicle, has hit critical mass. (Photo: Pixabay)

“This is something that is being monitored by our team,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters during a November 2017 press briefing.

Sanders added: “Tom Bossert with the Homeland Security team — an adviser to the president — has brought this up in a meeting. I know this is something he is keeping an eye on.”

When asked directly what President Trump’s views are on bitcoin, Sanders offered no details. “I don’t have anything that I can share with you right now,” she said.

President Trump’s silence is deafening considering he tweets and comments on a wide range of topics. The president recently trumpeted the record-breaking performance of the stock market ever since he took office.

Despite Trump’s reticence on the subject, the billionaire mogul has bitcoin bulls in his constellation.

Billionaire Peter Thiel — who was a member of the Trump administration’s transition team — holds hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bitcoin, the Wall Street Journal reported January 2. Thiel serves on the president’s technology advisory council.

peter thiel donald trump

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel holds hundreds of millions of dollars in bitcoin. (Getty Images/Drew Angerer)

Thiel’s Silicon Valley venture capital firm, the Founders Fund, purchased $15 million to $20 million worth of bitcoin in mid-2017. That cache is now worth hundreds of millions of dollars, thanks to the currency’s meteoric price spikes in late 2017.

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Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, is another bitcoin bull. He co-founded a bipartisan group called the Congressional Blockchain Caucus that seeks to promote cryptocurrency usage at the federal legislative level. Mulvaney has reportedly been a bitcoin enthusiast since 2014.

Bitcoin’s price started 2017 at $1,000 a coin before hitting a record $20,000 on December 17. It’s now hovering at $14,878 as of this writing.

There is constant speculation surrounding the digital coin’s erratic price swings. Some say bitcoin “whales” (i.e., people who own large amounts of the coins) are manipulating the prices. Others attribute the wild fluctuations to bot activity.

Still others blame North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. “North Korea is actively hacking the bitcoin and cryptocurrency ecosystem in a push to gain as much cryptocurrency for the regime as possible,” TechCrunch reported.

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Bitcoin launched in 2009 but remained an obscure, fringe investment for years. Starting in mid-2017, it grabbed countless headlines for its shocking price escalations. While the virtual currency has no government or central bank behind it, it is one of the talked about investment vehicles around today. And for better or worse, it’s not going away anytime soon.

So what will the Trump administration do about cryptocurrency? Only time will tell.

Investing in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is highly risky and speculative. This article is not a recommendation by the writer or BizPac Review to invest in cryptocurrencies. The author holds no bitcoin.

Samantha Chang

Samantha Chang

Samantha Chang is a politics/lifestyle writer and a financial editor. She is a law school graduate and an alum of the University of Pennsylvania. You can find her on Twitter at @Samantha_Chang.
Samantha Chang

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