Trump's Pro-Crypto Promises Raise Hopes and Skepticism

Some analysts even predict that Donald Trump’s potential victory in the November elections could result in the dismissal of several SEC crypto lawsuits.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump has changed his tune when it comes to cryptocurrency. He now believes it is extremely important for the U.S. to take leadership in the industry. Trump also recently promised to pardon Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht and protect crypto holders' rights. While some in the crypto industry are optimistic about Trump's promises, others are still very skeptical due to his past anti-crypto remarks and history of breaking campaign promises. Meanwhile, football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is launching his fourth NFT collection with Binance, despite facing a class action lawsuit over previous NFT sales.

Trump's Bold Stand on Crypto Leadership

Former U.S. President Donald Trump recently shared how important he thinks it is for the United States to lead the cryptocurrency industry in a post on Truth Social, a platform owned by Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG). Trump declared, "Our country must be the leader in the field, there is no second place."

He also criticized current President Joe Biden, whom he will face in the 2024 presidential race. Trump accused Biden of wanting to stifle the crypto industry, and even ended up calling him "the worst president in the history of our country."

Trump's comments came ahead of his scheduled speech at the Libertarian Party’s National Convention in Washington. His positive stance on crypto has generated a lot of optimism in the crypto industry about his potential victory.

According to Polymarket, a crypto prediction platform that is based in New York, Trump has a 56% chance of winning the election, while Biden holds a 38% chance.

In addition to his most recent comments, Trump also recently announced that his presidential campaign would accept cryptocurrency donations. On May 21, the Trump 2024 campaign launched a fundraising page allowing eligible people to donate in crypto using the Coinbase Commerce product.

Crypto Executives Torn Over Trump’s Promises and Past

Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s potential victory in the November elections could also result in the dismissal of several Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) crypto lawsuits, according to crypto lawyer James Murphy. Murphy even advised against settling any crypto cases with the current SEC, as he believes the regulator might adopt a different approach under Trump because of his recent pro-crypto promises.

However, some industry insiders warned people not to take Trump’s promises at face value. Cinneamhain Ventures partner Adam Cochran pointed out Trump’s history of reneging on promises and pandering for votes, especially considering his previous anti-crypto stance.

Similarly, Two Prime hedge fund partner Alexander Blume criticized Trump’s track record of making and then breaking promises to quite a few groups. In fact, PolitiFact’s analysis shows that Trump broke over half of the 102 promises made during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Despite Trump’s current support for crypto, his past remarks have been much less favorable. As president, he tweeted that he was “not a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies,” and even said they were “based on thin air.” Later he described crypto as “a disaster waiting to happen.”

On the other hand, crypto lawyer Gabriel Shapiro argued that Trump’s past comments still cannot be compared to what he sees as the Biden administration's very aggressive stance on crypto.

Some crypto industry executives are still a bit skeptical. Mike Dudas, founder of The Block and venture capitalist, acknowledged his dislike for Trump but recognized that Trump’s promises might allow him to continue his business activities and support his family and stakeholders.

Pardon for Silk Road Creator

Additionally, Donald Trump pledged to grant a presidential pardon to Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht if he is re-elected in November's election. At the Libertarian Party’s National Convention in Washington on May 25, Trump stated, "If you vote for me, on day one I will commute the sentence of Ross Ulbricht." He pointed out that Ulbricht already served 11 years and shared his plans to "get him home."

Ross Ulbricht is known for creating Silk Road, which was the first modern darknet market with a Bitcoin-based payment system. He was arrested by the FBI in 2013. In 2015, Ulbricht was convicted on multiple charges related to the operations of Silk Road and was sentenced to two life terms plus forty years without the possibility of parole.

Trump again emphasized his now pro-crypto stance. He promised to protect the rights of those holding crypto assets outside centralized exchanges and supported the right to self-custody. He also assured the nation's 50 million crypto holders that he would keep people like Elizabeth Warren from interfering with their crypto.

What Was the Silk Road Online?

Silk Road was a pioneering digital black market platform that facilitated money laundering and illegal drug transactions using Bitcoin (BTC). It was launched in 2011 by Ross William Ulbricht, and it very quickly became notorious as the first darknet market.

The platform's operations relied heavily on data anonymization technologies and the Tor network, which hid users' identities and transactions and created a secure haven for illicit activities. This combination of anonymization technology, a trading platform, and a feedback system made Silk Road a popular marketplace for drug dealers and buyers who wanted to stay anonymous.

The demand for data privacy and the rise of cyber technologies like cryptocurrency and ecommerce marketplaces definitely contributed to the development of tools and platforms that were designed to protect users' personally identifiable information (PII). However, these tools were also exploited by those involved in illegal activities.

Silk Road stepped up as a response to this need for privacy in the illicit drug trade, by using Tor to obscure user addresses and Bitcoin to anonymize financial transactions. This ended up creating a comprehensive privacy toolkit for illegal operations.

Despite the sophisticated use of technology to maintain anonymity, Silk Road's operations were eventually dismantled by the FBI in 2013. The FBI, in collaboration with the DEA, IRS, and Customs agents, managed to penetrate the marketplace and overcome the obstacles posed by Tor and Bitcoin's anonymizing features.

The crackdown led to the permanent shutdown of the site, the seizure of over 144,000 bitcoins (then worth $34 million), and the arrest of several users. Ulbricht earned approximately $80 million in commissions from transactions on the site and was also arrested.

Although Silk Road no longer exists as it did before its 2013 shutdown, the dark web is still very active, with similar marketplaces continuing to operate.

Ronaldo Launches Fourth NFT Collection

Donald Trump is not the only ‘famous’ figure turning heads in the crypto space at the moment. Portuguese football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo announced the launch of his fourth non-fungible token (NFT) collection in collaboration with Binance.

The collection will debut on May 29 on the Binance NFT Marketplace, and will celebrate Ronaldo's career with highlights from his time with various prestigious football clubs. In a blog post from Binance, Ronaldo invited fans to join him on his football journey through this new collection.

The exact number of NFTs in the collection and their prices will not be revealed until the launch. However, it was mentioned that the price for "Normal NFTs" will be uniform, while the "final Super Rare NFT" will have a different pricing structure.

Previous NFT collections that featured Ronaldo included exclusive perks, like premium experiences where holders could play football with the legend as part of Binance's promotional events.

Ronaldo is launching these new NFTs despite the fact that In November of 2023, he faced a class action lawsuit in a U.S. district court in Florida over his involvement in earlier NFT collection sales with Binance.

Plaintiffs alleged that Ronaldo "promoted, assisted in, and/or actively participated in the offer and sale of unregistered securities" in coordination with Binance and should have been aware of the company's activities. This lawsuit came after Binance and its former CEO started facing some serious legal issues.