Biden & Trump Completely Ignore Crypto in First Presidential Debate

Crypto was not mentioned once during the 90 minute Biden-Trump presidential debate, and it had a negative impact on the prices of politically themed meme coins.

During the recent presidential debate, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump completely avoided talking about crypto, despite crypto lobbyists making some impressive donations for the 2024 election. The debate also had a negative impact on meme coins related to Biden and Trump, with many of them seeing double digit losses over the past 24 hours of trading. Meanwhile, Jesse Powell of Kraken publicly shared that he backed Trump with a $1 million donation. Additionally, Coinbase advisor Keisha Lance Bottoms has joined Biden's campaign, which could signal that Biden is softening up to digital assets.

Biden and Trump Sideline Crypto in First Debate

In their 90-minute debate on Thursday, United States President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump did not mention cryptocurrency at all, despite the fact that several crypto lobbyists made some impressive donations for the 2024 election. The debate mostly focused on economic plans, abortion rights, immigration, foreign policy, and briefly on the mental capabilities of Biden, 81, and Trump, 78, who are the oldest candidates to run for president.

Crypto-backed super political action committees (PACs) have raised $202.8 million from industry backers and spent $93.6 million to influence the elections, yet the crypto sector received no attention during the debate at all. 

Fairshake PAC alone raised $177.8 million and spent $70.8 million on attack ads for congressional candidates. Additionally, Protect Progress and Defend American Jobs PACs collectively spent $22.8 million after raising $25 million. 

Interestingly, Trump very recently promised to end Biden’s so-called “war on crypto” and met with Bitcoin miners in June because he wants cryptocurrency to be “made in America.” Meanwhile, some in the industry, like Kraken CEO Dave Ripley, believe Biden is also becoming more open minded towards crypto. Meanwhile, crypto advocate Mark Cuban criticized the SEC’s enforcement actions under Gary Gensler, and even suggested that it could harm Biden’s reelection chances.

The two presidential candidates’ silence about crypto might make a bit more sense as Gallup polls from May revealed that crypto is not a priority for American voters, who are more concerned with the economy, inflation, governance, and immigration. 

Pro-crypto independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was excluded from the CNN debate but held his own session on X, where he shared his plans to use AI and blockchain to reduce government waste.

National polling from June 27 shows Trump leading Biden by a narrow margin of 0.2 percentage points. The next debate between Biden and Trump is scheduled for Sept. 10.

Presidential Debate Sinks Meme Coins

The silent treatment towards crypto during the debate did not just raise a few eyebrows in the crypto community. Meme coins inspired by President Joe Biden and Donald Trump saw large declines during the debate. 

The Trump-themed token, TRUMP, began its decline 20 minutes before the debate even started. At press time, TRUMP was trading hands at $7.89 after its price fell by more than 10% over the past day. 

TRUMP 1D price chart (Source: CoinMarketCap)

The Biden-inspired token, Jeo Boden (BODEN), experienced an even more severe drop, falling over 53% shortly after the debate. BODEN was still in the red by more than 30% at press time, and was worth $0.08662.  

Additionally, Super Trump (STRUMP) and BABYTRUMP (BABYTRUMP) also saw double-digit losses during and after the debate. Both meme coins were able to slightly recover at press time, but were still trading in the red.

Jesse Powell Backs Trump with $1M Donation

Jesse Powell, co-founder of Kraken, announced on X that he donated $1 million, mostly in Ether (ETH), to Donald Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign. Powell shared that he is supporting Trump because he is the only major party candidate advocating for pro-crypto policies, and who believes it is important for the U.S. to maintain its leadership in blockchain technology. 

Powell is also one of the many people who criticized President Joe Biden's regulatory approach towards the crypto industry. He also accused officials like Senator Elizabeth Warren and SEC Chair Gary Gensler of undermining U.S. competitiveness.

Powell believes Trump’s candidacy offers a chance for the U.S. to lead in blockchain technology. His post, which featured a photo of Powell and Trump, included the hashtag #freeross, referencing Ross Ulbricht, who is serving a life sentence for creating and operating the Silk Road online black market.

U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has also commented on Ulbricht's case, and even stated on June 20 that he would free Ulbricht if he gets elected.

He believes that two life sentences for hosting an e-commerce platform is excessive. Kennedy promised to sign a petition for Ulbricht’s release and encouraged others to do the same.

Coinbase Adviser Keisha Lance Bottoms Joins Biden Campaign

Keisha Lance Bottoms, the former mayor of Atlanta and a member of Coinbase’s global advisory council, will join President Joe Biden’s campaign for the 2024 U.S. Presidential election as a senior adviser. Lance Bottoms served as Atlanta’s mayor from 2018 to 2022 and joined Coinbase's advisory council in April 2024. She also previously held an advisory position at the White House until 2023.

Reports indicate that Lance Bottoms will stay with Coinbase throughout Biden’s campaign, which concludes in November when voters cast their ballots. 

She has described cryptocurrency as a “nonpolitical and unifying issue,” although it is still not clear if she will specifically advises the campaign on crypto-related matters. There are some speculations that President Biden might actually consider accepting crypto contributions and that he is planning to meet with lawmakers to discuss digital assets, though this has not been confirmed by the Biden campaign.

Lance Bottoms spoke at Coinbase’s Stand With Crypto event in Atlanta on June 26, before the Biden-Trump debate, and pointed out the potential of crypto to empower unbanked and underbanked communities, especially in Atlanta's thriving Black-owned blockchain community.

Meanwhile, former U.S. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney recently stated that he would leave his position at Coinbase’s global advisory council if he got nominated by President Biden to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Since its inception in 2023, Coinbase’s Stand With Crypto PAC has grown to over one million advocates, actively supporting or opposing political candidates at various levels. Coinbase is also a major supporter of the Fairshake Super PAC, which has launched attack ads against anti-crypto politicians.