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With Mike Bloomberg Out, What’s Next for Crypto in the US?

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Billionaire Michael Bloomberg who previously advocated for clearer crypto regulations has dropped out of the race to win the Democratic ticket for the November 2020 U.S. presidential election.


Bloomberg Drops Out After Super Tuesday Crash and Burn

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Bloomberg, a former New York Mayor is the latest Democratic candidate to exit the race, while endorsing former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Bloomberg’s decision comes after spending more than $620 million over three months to run his campaign.

As previously reported by Bitcoinist, Bloomberg had announced plans to legitimize the U.S. crypto market. In a Financial Reform Policy published back in mid-February, the Bloomberg LP founder declared his intention to replace the patchwork of State and Federal crypto regulations with more clear-cut laws for cryptocurrency governance.

Bloomberg’s crypto policies briefly made him the pro-cryptocurrency candidate of the Democratic Party after former contender Andrew Yang dropped out of the race in February. Yang had been a firm proponent of crypto adoption and the creation of standardized cryptocurrency laws.

Bloomberg’s decision to exit the race came after failing to capture a significant number of delegates during Super Tuesday despite spending about $215 million in ads. Announcing his endorsement of Biden, Bloomberg remarked:

After yesterday’s results, the delegate math has become virtually impossible—and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists… I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that the candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden.

The Destiny of US Crypto Regulations Post-2020 Polls

After Super Tuesday, Biden and Bernie Sanders appear to be the front runners for the Democratic ticket. Neither has included crypto-related matters in their policy statements during the campaign.

However, their respective relationship with ‘big tech’ might offer a clue as to their likely approach to cryptocurrency regulations. While espousing some level of criticisms for Silicon Valley, Biden is generally favorable towards the U.S. tech industry.

Sanders, on the other hand, is known for advocating for the breakup of major tech establishments like Facebook, Google, and Amazon. A Biden presidency could see Facebook’s proposed Libra project come under even greater scrutiny.

As for the incumbent President Donald Trump, crypto is “highly volatile and based on thin air.” Trump’s likely crypto laws might be in response to cryptocurrency utilization by the likes of China, Iran, and North Korea.

In the absence of any crypto-focused policies from the remaining candidates, the future of U.S. crypto regulations may lie with Congress. Bills like the Token Taxonomy Act and the Cryptocurrency Act of 2020 are before the country’s legislature.

With Bloomberg gone, will another Democratic candidate adopt crypto-related matters in the campaign policies? Let us know in the comments below.


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Regulation

Tributes and conspiracy theories swirl in wake of John McAfee’s death

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The reported suicide of notorious tax fugitive, Bitcoin proponent, and antivirus software pioneer, John McAfee, has prompted an outpouring of tributes and conspiracy theories today.

After years of evading U.S. taxes and authorities, a Spanish court had ordered McAfee’s extradition just hours before he was found dead, with the 75-year-old expected to face a life sentence in the United States should he have been extradited.

Former National Security Agency (NSA) employee and whistleblower, Edward Snowden, criticized the global reach of U.S. enforcement and warned that McAfee’s untimely end may not be the only one as “Julian Assange’s story could end much the same.” He tweeted:

“Europe should not extradite those accused of non-violent crimes to a court system so unfair — and a prison system so cruel — that native-born defendants would rather die than become subject to it.”

Cardano founder, Charles Hoskinson, praised McAfee’s contributions to computer science, describing him as “one of the most enigmatic and interesting people in the cryptocurrency space and the history of computing.” “He was also a deeply troubled person,” added Hoskinson, noting McAfee’s well-documented personal traumas and substance abuse issues.

“The reason for the suicide seems self-evident — McAfee was 75 years old, and the extradition ot the US was approved, he was looking at over 30 years in jail, if convicted, and likely would have been […] it seem that he decided to choose ending his life there in a Spanish prison rather than a U.S. prison.” 

Bitcoin influencer and podcaster Anthony Pompliano remembered McAfee as “kind, funny, and incredibly intelligent,” sharing an image of himself alongside the anti-virus pioneer and his wife Janice Dyson, wielding heavy munitions from the house boat the pair had used to evade authorities for years.

Kim Dotcom, an internet entrepreneur who is fighting his own extradition charges from New Zealand over his file-sharing network, Megaupload, lamented McAfee’s drug abuse taking away from his potential, stating:

“A pioneer in data security. I always thought he partied too hard, should have avoided the drugs and focus on using his brilliant mind for good. When he had a sober mind it was all about freedom.”

QAnon and conspiracy theories

Despite McAfee’s own legal representatives in Spain, informing Reuters that McAfee had hanged himself rather than face life in prison, the internet is predictably ablaze with conspiracy theories asserting McAfee had not died at his own hand.

The flames were fanned shortly after his death was reported, when McAfee’s official Instragram account shared an image of the letter “Q,” igniting excitement among QAnon conspiracy theorists. Business Insider reported that QAnon influencers on Telegram with “hundreds of thousands of followers” were sharing posts doubting the suicide story.

McAfee’s own Tweets have been reposted endlessly today, including one from December 2019 claiming the government was threatening to assassinate him and to not believe any version of events where he committed suicide. However, the tweet was promoting his “WHACKD” crypto token, which referenced the death of Jeffrey Epstein, and linked to a site where the token could be purchased.

Other conspiracy theorists zeroed in on a post from June 2019 where he claimed to have a “31+ terabyte” trove of data with evidence of government corruption that he claimed incriminated “a CIA agent” and “two Bahamian officials” that he would release if he were ever arrested. However McAfee was arrested in October 2020 and no such evidence trove has been released. 

It’s worth bearing in mind McAfee was no stranger to making bold and outlandish claims, including promising he would devour his own phallus on national television should the price of Bitcoin fail to exceed $1 million by 2021, that he had performed sexual intercourse with a whale, and that he had synthesized a new narcotic compound in Belize.

McAfee’s Tweets from prison had also taken on an increasingly sombre tone in recent weeks. In May, he revealed he had discussed suicide with a fellow inmate.

He also spoke of being “an old man lost in a near infinite Twitter verse — like tears in rain” and admitting to “having a down day.”

McAfee’s Spanish lawyer, Javier Villalba, told Reuters he believed that McAfee simply could not tolerate being locked up:

“This is the result of a cruel system that had no reason to keep this man in jail for so long.” 

If you need help in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255. In Australia call Lifeline on 131114 or look up the service nearest to you.