Bitcoin is inherently apolitical, in the sense that no third party or government can influence the critical aspects of how the network functions.
But politicians can influence Bitcoin tangentially, by introducing regulations that make it harder to access, implementing economic policies that drive more people toward this alternative or through other actions within their power. And decisions by individuals to leverage BTC, to opt out of financial systems that are run by governments or to use Bitcoin to circumvent regulatory systems are fiercely political ones, even if the technology itself does not care why you are adopting it.
With that dynamic in mind, Bitcoin Magazine wanted to get a sense of the community’s outlook on the even of the U.S. Presidential Election. With a great number of critical policy decisions apparently on the horizon and a significant division between the candidates, we wanted to know what Bitcoiners think about the race.
We teamed up with Carrot, a platform for rewarding people for completing tasks with satoshis via the Lightning Network, to host a survey for our readers. Below, we’re presenting the findings of Bitcoin Magazine’s first-ever “Election Sentiment Analysis.”
Our survey asked Bitcoiners to tell us which presidential candidate they were hoping would win, how they think Bitcoin would be affected if either Donald Trump or Joe Biden emerged victorious and to share any other bold predictions they had for BTC following the election.
Of the 125 people who responded, 58 (46.4 percent) indicated that they hoped Donald Trump would win; 43 (34.4 percent) chose Joe Biden; 17 (13.6 percent) indicated that they were hoping for a third candidate to win; and seven (5.6 percent) elected not to answer.
Rooting For Trump
Digging into the written responses from those who are rooting for Trump, it appears that they agree with the U.S. at large in predicting that he will be the better candidate for the performance of the national economy. According to CNBC, 45 percent of Americans think that the stock market will be higher in a year if Trump is reelected, while just 32 percent feel that Joe Biden would be best for the stock market. That general sentiment carried over to our Bitcoiner respondents:
“I think the asset price will continue to increase because the economy will improve,” wrote Robert Hall, who said that he was rooting for Trump. “More people employed means more people with income to purchase bitcoin. It is that simple.”
Respondent Deniz Saat echoed that general logic: Trump is more likely to spur the economy in general and that will be a benefit to bitcoin’s asset price and, therefore, Bitcoin at large.
“Short term, price might fall, but long term, it won’t affect the trajectory,” Saat wrote. “If his administration keeps handing out checks, more price spikes will make bitcoin and the stock market increase.”
On the flip side, those respondents who indicated that they hope Trump wins reelection shared some of their fears about how a Biden presidency could hurt Bitcoin. Generally, this was the inverse of their outlook for Trump’s economic prowess.
“Biden will focus on COVID and [the] economy may recover slower,” wrote an anonymous respondent. “Bitcoin will see a longer period before all-time high can be achieved.”
But at least one respondent noted a fear about how Biden would approach technologies like Bitcoin from a regulatory standpoint.
“Dems love controls and taxation, they will [make] very difficult regulations for exchanges,” another anonymous respondent wrote. “Also, most are sound[ly] opposed to cryptographic privacy, as James Comey.”
Rooting For Biden
Of the respondents who wrote that they’d prefer to see Joe Biden win the presidency, many once again reflected the national feeling about how the candidates’ administrations would differ. According to Newsweek, 56 percent of likely voters indicated that Biden would do a better job of managing the COVID-19 crisis. That sentiment was reflected in our own survey as well.
“Biden will do a good job of handling the current CV-19 crisis,” wrote an anonymous respondent who said that they are hoping Biden will win. “Economy will eventually get better, but it will take a longer time. Bitcoin price volatility will be smaller and the increase will be gradual.”
Several of the respondents who chose Biden explained that they were hoping he would accelerate the need for Bitcoin through unruly economic stimulation.
“Printer go ‘brrr,’ and number go up,” wrote CookedCookee, who said they hoped Biden would win, in their explanation of how a Biden presidency would affect Bitcoin.
As for the fears for Bitcoin that the Biden camp has if Trump were reelected, a few respondents highlighted Trump’s potential misunderstandings and undue regulatory action as negative possibilities for Bitcoin.
“I don’t think Trump understands what exactly the value proposition of Bitcoin is,” wrote respondent Mark Rudnitsky. “As a result, given his anti-technology stance, I expect Trump to move against Bitcoin on the grounds of ‘stopping terrorist financing.’”
“Vote red and say goodbye to your Bitcoin sovereignty in the U.S… Orange man don’t like orange coin,” per an anonymous respondent. “Vote blue and say hello to the possibility of a progressive financial future as you light up your legal blunt to celebrate.”
One anonymous respondent who selected Joe Biden as their preferred candidate offered a bold prediction for what might happen if their wish doesn’t come true.
“I think [Trump] will fight [Bitcoin] until he gets some,” they wrote. “Then, he will brag about how great it is and how he knew it before anybody and he always makes the best deals. Then he’ll probably claim he knew Satoshi, then the prices will go up. Then the enemies he created will try to use it against him and we will see a ‘war’ between parties that finally puts Bitcoin in the spotlight. For good or ill, who can say?”
Bitcoin Is Bitcoin
Even among those who indicated that they had a preference for Trump or Biden, many of our respondents explained that the election will not impact Bitcoin one way or another in the long run.
“Bitcoin’s an unstoppable freight train, whoever wins, its destiny is sealed,” wrote a respondent named Logan. “Vote Bitcoin 2020.”
Many other respondents wrote that they expect the price of BTC to go up no matter who wins, either because of chaos in traditional markets or just because bitcoin’s price will rise no matter what as more people realize the benefits of the technology.
“Both [potential] presidents are unsuitable, and therefore it will be a chaotic time and the only safe haven will be bitcoin,” wrote an anonymous respondent. “People will slowly realize that and when that time comes, bitcoin is going to see new [all-time highs].”
Only time will tell how the next U.S. President influences the trajectory of Bitcoin, if at all. But what is clear on the eve of this election is that Bitcoiners have something to say about the direction of this country and how their favorite technology fits in… or doesn’t.
Peter Chawaga is a senior editor at Bitcoin Magazine. He HODLs BTC.