After scoring two big wins following the mid-term election of crypto friendly Governors in California and Colorado, this space may now count a third. Matt Whitaker, the new acting attorney general.
According to Mati Greenspan, Senior Market Analyst at eToro, Whitaker has made two friendly tweets regarding bitcoin, one of them as early as 2012.
We can not verify the tweets because Whitaker has now locked them away from the public. The Internet Archive moreover only goes back as far as 2016, showing he has made no mention of bitcoin, blockchain or crypto for the past two years.
In 2012, however, if the above purported screenshots are legitimate, Whitaker linked to a pretty fine article by Reuters.
This was at a time when pretty much everyone, even the tech geeks, had written off bitcoin as unworkable after a hack of a bitcoin exchange, MT Gox, “showed” that bitcoin was not “safe.” Yet Reuters tells a very different story, stating on April 2nd 2012:
“Unlike conventional fiat money and other digital currencies, Bitcoin runs through a peer-to-peer network, independent of central control. Bitcoins are currently worth $4.88 each on online currency exchanges, where they can be bought and sold for about 15 world currencies.
Users – an odd assortment of uber-geeks, anarchists, libertarians, scammers and forex traders – sent about $4.3 million worth to each other in the last 24 hours.
Banking and payment expert Simon Lelieveldt believes they are living on borrowed time.
‘There is always a power base underlying a currency,’ he said, speaking at the Digital Money Forum in London in March.
‘Bitcoin is not going to fly because there is no central bank or power base. It’s doomed to fail.’
But its separation from power is precisely what attracts many users.
‘Bitcoin is not run by people with hot sexual appetites for hotel maids. It is not run by corporations. It is not governed by people with budgets to meet. It is governed by a mathematical formula,’ one trader and Bitcoin enthusiast told Reuters over a pint of Guinness in London’s financial district…
Workers at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs in London and New York have been visiting online Bitcoin exchanges as often as 30 times a day, according to documents seen by Reuters. Neither bank wanted to comment.
Employees at almost all the major international banks and numerous trading and investment firms have shown interest.”
Difficult as it may be to tell whether a factual report is friendly or otherwise, there is little doubt that the above article is not unfriendly. The reporter, and the choice of facts reported, is at best neutral and comes across as somewhat even excited.
Whitaker choosing this particular article suggests some curiosity at worst, but more likely an active interest or a favorable view on bitcoin.
That’s made fairly close to certain by the second bitcoin related tweet he made in 2013. The title of the shared article suggests he was effectively advocating bitcoin.
Under the title of “Bitcoin isn’t illegal because it isn’t real money,” the article dated April 3, 2013 – just after the then “bubble” to $260 – says:
“If you know your country’s currency laws — in that it’s illegal to start a new form of currency in many countries, including the US — you might wonder why the government hasn’t come down on Bitcoin in response to all of the recent exposure. In what will no doubt anger some fans of the digital currency, financial services lawyer Dan Friedberg says it’s because the government doesn’t view Bitcoin as a real currency. Zing.”
They make this distinction between legal tender – a legal term that means you have to accept a currency for payments of debts – and private or semi-contractual agreements where people voluntarily decide whether to accept something or otherwise.
Much can fit within the latter, but constitutionally only gold is legal tender. That constitution has practically been subverted following a long battle between the government and the judiciary more than a century ago. The latter lost, so now fiat paper printed at will is practically legal tender, although not technically.
Meaning one can imagine Whitaker, as a lawyer, was interested in these finer legal points. Yet taken holistically and in context, it looks very likely that Whitaker is a bitcoiner and probably holds some crypto.