Amid wild bitcoin price spikes, Trump administration eyes regulating cryptocurrencies

Amid rising 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 said 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, according to the Wall Street Journal. 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.

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, 2017.

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.

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.

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Samantha Chang

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