US presidential candidates clash over authorship of pro-Bitcoin ideas

Vivek Ramaswamy, Ron DeSantis, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are vying for the status of the most crypto-friendly presidential candidate in 2024.

Crowd during presidential election
So far, Forbes calls DeSantis "the most pro-Bitcoin US presidential candidate"

Amid the political campaigns for the upcoming US presidential election, which will be held on November 5, 2024, Bitcoin has unexpectedly become one of the hot topics. It seems at least three of the declared presidential candidates want to attract potential voters with their pro-cryptocurrency approach.

After Florida governor Ron DeSantis launched his presidential campaign on Twitter with Spaces hosted by Elon Musk, the politician faced an unexpected reaction from another presidential candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy.

Read also: Florida governor concerned about CBDC surveillance of Americans

The biotech entrepreneur is rather skeptical about DeSantis’ understanding of blockchain technology and Bitcoin in particular, despite the fact Florida's governor is widely known for his support for cryptocurrency. Although DeSantis talks a lot about the importance of Bitcoin, Ramaswamy believes that the politician's knowledge is not sufficient to effectively address issues related to cryptocurrency and its regulation.

In his interview with CoinDesk, Ramaswamy emphasized that the mere language DeSantis uses while talking about technical terms implies his modest understanding of these concepts.

"As a president, I will protect the ability to do things like Bitcoin," DeSantis provoked Ramaswamy’s response with these words.

"Even the way he said that, 'do things like Bitcoin,' when we think about the leader we want in the White House, that needs to be somebody who understands the 'why,'" DeSantis’ rival said.

Interestingly, this particular DeSantis' expression intended to reassure cryptocurrency users about the security of this technology in the US, sparked doubts among some Twitter users who became concerned about the possibility of central bank digital currency (CBDC) being one of those "things like Bitcoin."

While banning CBDC is part of DeSantis’ political strategy, the unclear terminology may cause confusion among voters, who may not understand that this part of the program is actually what they want for the United States.

More important, however, is the fact that Ramaswamy believes his book "Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam" inspired the Florida governor to adopt many of the concepts regarding cryptocurrencies and CBDCs it contains.

Ramaswamy claims DeSantis read his book and "adopted many of the proposals as his own." Yet the businessman believes "it is a good thing" and his competitor "is saying the right things," although Ramaswamy is not sure Florida’s governor has the same deep understanding of these concepts as the entrepreneur claims to have himself.

In early May, Ramaswamy told CBS News that he had a new proposal to remove tax restrictions on cryptocurrency mining. "The thriving Bitcoin universe should actually better empower me to do what I want to do as the US president, which is to stabilize the US dollar as a unit of measurement and put the Federal Reserve back in its place with that as its single mandate," the entrepreneur said and expressed his opposition to Biden’s proposal for a 30 percent tax on miners’ electricity consumption. He believes it is unfair to "target Bitcoin miners as different from any other consumer of energy."

More accusations of plagiarism

Curiously, Ramaswamy was not the only person to accuse DeSantis of plagiarism. According to news portal Insider, shortly after DeSantis announced his presidential bid on Twitter Spaces, the former US president and current presidential candidate Donald Trump's camp reported that DeSantis used the exact phrase that first appeared in Trump’s 2022 election speech.

At the time, the famous Republican said, "Three years ago, we launched the Great American Comeback. Tonight, I stand before you to share the incredible results," while DeSantis announced his campaign by saying, "I am Ron DeSantis, and I am running to lead the Great American Comeback."

How are the 2024 US presidential candidates doing?

Although at press time Ramaswamy had significantly fewer votes than DeSantis in the pre-election polls, just 3.5% compared to 20.7% received by his opponent as per the platform FiveThirtyEight, the entrepreneur is already among the top five presidential candidates. At the same time, DeSantis' popularity has considerably declined since early March, when the governor reportedly had as much as 46% votes. Meanwhile, his main rival Trump is gaining more interest among voters gaining 54% of the votes, whereas another pro-Bitcoin candidate, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is not even on the list of top seven candidates.

Both Ramaswamy and Kennedy attended the 2023 Bitcoin Conference, where the latter was a keynote speaker. In fact, Kennedy made his first public appearance as a presidential candidate during the conference.

Read also: Bitcoin 2023 selects presidential candidate Kennedy as keynote speaker

Kennedy said at the time, "As president, I will make sure that your right to hold and use Bitcoin is inviolable. I am an ardent defender and lifelong defender of civil liberties, and Bitcoin is both an exercise and a guarantee of those freedoms."

Even though Kennedy’s stance on Bitcoin is very similar to DeSantis’ approach, it is the Florida governor who is considered possibly "the most pro-Bitcoin US presidential candidate," according to a May 23 Forbes article by Jon McGowan.

So far, Trump's stance on Bitcoin has been negative. Although the former president rather harshly called the oldest cryptocurrency a "scam" in his 2021 interview with Fox Business according to the BBC, he at least honestly said, "I do not like it because it is another currency competing against the dollar," while he wanted the US dollar to be "the currency of the world."

However, this did not stop the former president from leveraging blockchain technology by issuing his own NFT collection, which earned him up to $1 million.