Trump to address ‘future of the American Bitcoin industry’ at crypto gathering this month



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Former President Donald Trump will speak at Bitcoin 2024, an annual conference that also serves as a tribal gathering for fans of the original cryptocurrency, later this month in Nashville, organizers announced on Wednesday. Trump booking the headline act at the industry’s largest conference, underscores his bid to court crypto voters and harvest their dollars, a quest that has accelerated over recent months.

Trump, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, will headline the conference on July 27, speaking on the main stage in a 30-minute address. Details of what he will discuss have not been disclosed. David Bailey, CEO, BTC Inc., the organizer of The Bitcoin Conference, told Fortune in a statement that Trump will “share his vision for the future of the American Bitcoin industry and its impact on the U.S. economy.”

Other speakers at the conference include conspiracy theorists Russell Brand—who faces nine charges of alleged sexual assault in the U.K.—and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an independent candidate running for president. Last year’s conference, held in Miami, drew in 30,000 members of the crypto community—the largest number to date.

Despite telling Fox Business in 2021 that Bitcoin “just seems like a scam,” Trump headlining the conference does not come as a surprise. In recent months, Trump has been explicit in his desire to emerge the “crypto president.” 

In May, his campaign began accepting donations via a host of cryptocurrencies, including memecoin Shiba Inu. “As Biden piles regulations and red tape on all of us, President Trump stands ready to embrace new technologies that will Make America Great Again,” his campaign wrote in its call for crypto dollars.

Then, just weeks later, Bloomberg reported that Trump has turned to Elon Musk for guidance on his crypto policy. Shortly after, he hosted a handful of the publicly traded Bitcoin miners at his Mar-a-Lago estate. Following the visit, Trump wrote in a Truth Social that Bitcoin mining may be “our last line of defense against a CBDC,” referring to a central bank digital currency. He added that all Bitcoin should be “MADE IN THE USA!!!”

On one hand, research suggests that digital assets don’t even rank in the top ten key issues for voters. So, why has Trump not only changed his tune on crypto, but made it a key priority in his campaign? Well, while crypto may be trumped by issues like the economy, civil rights immigration, a Harris Poll survey published in May found that one fifth of voters in swing states “consider cryptocurrency policies as a topic important enough to sway their support.” In an election that has consistently been neck-and-neck, a few hundred thousand votes in swing states could make the difference. 

Moreover, Trump knows crypto has money—money the industry is willing to throw at pro-crypto candidates. That’s because, for crypto, a lot hinges on this election, not least because the current Securities and Exchange Commission administration’s remains hostile towards crypto. Under Chairman Gary Gensler, enforcement actions last year rose by 53% compared with the prior year, according to data compiled by the consultancy firm Cornerstone. Last year’s 46 total actions was nearly double that of 2021, the year Gensler became chair.

As a result, crypto is throwing money at the problem. As of May 31, the political action committee Fairshake raised around $178 million to lobby crypto-friendly candidates. Meanwhile, fellow PAC Stand with Crypto, launched by Coinbase, saw its membership surpass 1 million on June 4, surging immediately after President Joe Biden’s May 31 veto of SAB 121, a measure that would have overturned the SEC’s policy that prevents traditional financial companies from holding on to their customers’ crypto on their behalf. Stand with Crypto has raised around $179 million so far.

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