Trump just became a crypto bro after years of flirting with the industry — will it matter?

Trump just became a crypto bro after years of flirting with the industry — will it matter?
People & cultureRegulation
Donald Trump's love affair with crypto has been a long time coming. Credit: Darren Joseph
  • Ex-President Donald Trump finally made crypto very happy.
  • Trump said he likes crypto too after years of the industry wooing him.
  • What does it mean for the November election?

Former US President Donald Trump took to the stage at Mar-a-Lago this week, steadied himself against a white and gold podium, and spoke.

“If you’re in favour of crypto you’d better vote for Trump,” he said.

Trump cemented his love affair by indicating that his campaign will accept crypto donations.

“If you can’t, I’ll make sure you can,” he said.

His comments highlighted Trump’s shifting attitude towards crypto, which has evolved from calling Bitcoin a scam to minting his own NFTs.

The timing is notable: Not only is he bleeding money fighting four court cases, but he is also feeling the pressure as the November election creeps closer.

Trump’s legal costs have hit a staggering $86 million since his campaign started, according to the Wall Street Journal.

At the same time, about a quarter of Republicans in the Senate have yet to endorse Trump, and President Joe Biden recently leapfrogged him in the polls.

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But punters on blockchain betting platform Polymarket signal the two are neck and neck, with months to go.

“Trump might sense an opportunity among swing votes,” Sean Stein Smith, an associate professor of accounting at Lehman College in New York, told DL News.

He added that multiple polls have shown some swing voters are dissatisfied with the Biden administration’s crypto approach.

Moreover, Trump’s appeal skews white and male, which aligns heavily with the demographic of the crypto community.

Crypto’s courting pays off

The crypto community prefers Trump to Biden, 45% to 43%, according to a recent poll by investment firm Paradigm.

Ryan Selkis, CEO of crypto market intelligence firm Messari and vocal Trump supporter, attended the Mar-a-Lago event on Wednesday.

He has compared Trump with “national chemotherapy,” and said he doesn’t care that the former president is a “colossal and world-class asshole” or a “jerk” — his words, not ours.

Selkis paints a second Biden term as a future involving mass seizures of crypto assets.

illustration of Trump and Biden facing each other with bitcoin logo behind

Trump’s irreverent anti-regulatory attitude has endeared him to the community, many of whom see him as the antidote to the Security and Exchange Commission’s anti-crypto stance.

A new administration could be more favourable to the crypto ecosystem, Mike Giampapa, general partner at crypto investor Galaxy Ventures, told DL News.

Giampapa suggested that a Republican win could mean SEC Chair Gary Gensler — who has led the regulator’s crypto crackdown — will leave office, adding that Gensler could leave no matter what the vote.

A more favourable SEC chair would lead to more crypto startups being able to scale and exit — for instance through public listings, which enable investors to cash out on their investments, he predicted.

Indeed, when Trump professed his love for crypto, he also pledged to do something about the “hostility” US crypto firms face from Democrats and Gensler.

Trump’s love affair

Still, Trump has taken his time falling in love with crypto.

In true Bridget Jones fashion, he started out by seemingly disliking the sector, dismissing Bitcoin as “a scam against the dollar” in 2021.

Things changed after his election loss in 2020.

Since then, he has released two series of baseball card-style NFTs featuring himself in a range of heroic costumes. They are worth a combined $23.3 million, according to NFT Price Floor.

He released a third collection in December, which included a limited edition of physical trading cards of his mugshot, taken when he was arraigned on charges of breaking Georgia election law in 2016.

His relationship with crypto thawed even more after one-time rival Vivek Ramaswamy bowed out of the Republican presidential race and endorsed Trump in January.

How much the crypto-friendly Ramaswamy has influenced Trump is, of course, anyone’s guess.

Trump did, however, hint at a more pro-crypto stance after Ramaswamy joined team Trump.

For instance, he rejected the idea of a US digital dollar, calling it a threat to Americans’ civil liberties and aligning with the industry’s view that central bank digital currencies are a threat to privacy.

Does it matter?

The crypto industry has lobbied lawmakers for years.

Exemplified by Coinbase Chief Legal Officers Paul Grewal, the industry has pushed the narrative that crypto is a potential key swing-vote issue.

However, more established polls suggest voters are more concerned about the economy, crime, gun violence, and health care than with crypto.

So is crypto a big election issue?

“In the scale of things for voters and the market, no. For some politicians, yes,” Virginie O’Shea, founder of Firebrand Research, told DL News.

And Trump has a history of flip-flopping on key political issues, including gay marriage, torture, and financial regulations.

Financial regulation expert Sean Tuffy told DL News: “So we should take Trump’s recent conversation to being pro-crypto with a grain of salt.”

Eric Johansson is DL News’ News Editor. Got a tip? Email at

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