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Bolton Says Trump Wanted Mnuchin To 'Go After Bitcoin' For Fraud: Report

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Bolton Says Trump Wanted Mnuchin To 'Go After Bitcoin' For Fraud: Report

The price of bitcoin was flat on Thursday after former national security advisor John Bolton revealed in his new book that President Donald Trump reportedly instructed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to “go after Bitcoin [for fraud]" in a conversation in May 2018.

At the time, according to Bolton, Trump was discussing potential trade sanctions and tariffs against China.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been extremely polarizing on Wall Street and in Washington. Bitcoin prices are up 74.1% in the past three months but remain down more than 50% from their 2017 highs.

In Their Own Words

Plenty of analysts, experts, economists and politicians have weighed in on bitcoin in recent years. Here’s a collection of what they’ve had to say.

  • “I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity…” - President Donald Trump, July 2019.
  • "[Baseball cards, art work, and comic books have] no real intrinsic value, you can’t eat a baseball card. Bitcoin–there’s even less you can do with it: at least I can look at my baseball card ... I’d rather have bananas [than bitcoin], I can eat bananas." - Mark Cuban, October 2019.
  • “I am concerned that consumers could get hurt...We want to make sure that bad people cannot use these currencies to do bad things.” - Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, January 2018.
  • “I would be long bitcoin, and neutral to skeptical of just about everything else at this point with a few possible exceptions. There will be one online equivalent to gold, and the one you’d bet on would be the biggest.” - Peter Thiel, March 2018.
  • “Nothing against bitcoin, nothing against you know, private currencies… We generally look at some of the risk of cryptocurrencies associated with money laundering and those sorts of issues but we’re not broadly opposed or supportive of alternative currencies” - Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, June 2017.
  • “Cryptocurrencies basically have no value...You can't do anything with it except sell it to somebody else.” - Warren Buffett, February 2020.
  • “Bitcoin is an attempt to replace fiat currency and evade regulation and government intervention. I don’t think that’s going to be a success.” -Former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, October 2017.
  • “I will just say outright I am not a fan, and let me tell you why. I know there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies and maybe something is coming down the line that is more appealing but I think first of all, very few transactions are actually handled by bitcoin, and many of those do take place on bitcoin are illegal, illicit transactions.” - Former Fed Chair Janet Yellen, October, 2018.
  • “As an asset class, you’re not producing anything and so you shouldn’t expect it to go up...I agree I would short it if there was an easy way to do it.” - Bill Gates, May 2018.
  • “Mad Money into bitcoin? Hmmm.. not top of mind. But then again, it is YOUR mad money so you must do what you think is right.” - Jim Cramer, May 2019.
  • “I’m neither here nor there on Bitcoin...This sort of gets the crypto people angry, but there are transactions that are not within the balance of the law...You need an illegal to legal bridge. That’s where crypto comes in.” - Elon Musk, January 2020.

Benzinga’s Take

Bitcoin has performed extremely well as a long-term investment over the past three-plus years. However, the ultimate success or failure of the cryptocurrency will likely hinge on whether or not it ever crosses over from a niche speculative investment to a stable store of value and a mainstream option for legal transactions.

Do you agree with this take? Email feedback@benzinga.com with your thoughts.

Related Links:

What You Need To Know About Bitcoin's Halving

Bitcoin Is Still Failing As A Flight To Safety Investment

 

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