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‘Not a fan:’ President Donald Trump comments on Facebook’s Libra, Bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies for the first time

Steven Zheng

President Donald Trump expressed his views on Bitcoin and Facebook's Libra cryptocurrency for the first time since becoming president of the United States.

In a three tweet Twitter thread, President Trump stated that he is "not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air," adding that "unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity."

Furthermore, President Trump said "Facebook Libra’s 'virtual currency' will have little standing or dependability," and that "if Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other Banks."

Readers of The Block will recall that Facebook announced last month its plans to launch a digital currency backed by a consortium of companies including the likes of Uber and PayPal as soon as 2020.

President Trump concluded his Twitter thread by stating that "we have only one real currency in the USA, and it is stronger than ever, both dependable and reliable."

Still, honey badger don't care. As per Coinbase data, bitcoin was trading up 1% over the last hour:

Despite the anti-crypto tone of the tweets, many members of the cryptocurrency community were impressed with their nuance and understanding that Libra and bitcoin are not the same.

"Bitcoin is unfortunately getting caught up in the political fire aimed at Facebook’s plans for a global currency," said Jerry Brito, Executive Director at Coin Center, a digital asset think tank. "That the president is calling for Libra to be regulated like a bank reflects the fact that Libra is a company issued asset."

"In contrast, Bitcoin is an open and permissionless network of users like the internet, not a company."

Another crypto exec was more blunt, saying anonymously:

"It's actually pretty nuanced ... [there's] no way [he] wrote it."

Next week, officials for Facebook's Libra will testify in front of U.S. legislators to address their concerns around the systematic risks and privacy concerns a crypto backed by the social media giant poses.