Robert F Kennedy Jr Silent on Bitcoin and CBDC During Twitter Talk with Elon Musk

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Silent on Bitcoin and CBDC During Twitter Talk with Elon Musk

He also asked Balaji Srinivasan, Coinbase’s former CTO, to be his Treasury Secretary.

By André Beganski

Robert F. Kennedy Jr exits Bitcoin 2023's main stage. Image: André Beganski/Decrypt

Tesla CEO and Twitter owner Elon Musk hosted a conversation with presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr on Monday. And while it lasted for more than two hours, Bitcoin and the digital assets industry never came up.

The chit-chat between the two, moderated by entrepreneur David Sacks, didn’t begin until 15 minutes after its scheduled start. The talk was not, however, overshadowed by technical issues that plagued Musk’s heart-to-heart with Ron DeSantis weeks ago.

Kennedy, the nephew of former president John F. Kennedy, announced his 2024 presidential bid as a Democrat last month. And he has presented himself to potential voters as an outspoken advocate of Bitcoin.

But Musk and Kennedy’s conversation focused on other tech topics, like artificial intelligence and social media censorship. They discussed calls for AI regulations, Musk’s Neuralink, and how COVID misinformation was handled on social media.

On AI, Kennedy said, “If I do get in the White House, I think that's one of the things that I need to pay a lot of attention to,” adding it would need to be regulated in a way so that the tech “doesn't end up killing us all or enslaving us.”

The conversation’s lack of chatter on digital assets follows Kennedy’s keynote address at Bitcoin 2023 in Miami, Florida, where he championed Bitcoin as an example and exercise in democracy. He also said truckers protesting COVID restrictions in Canada turned him on to crypto’s oldest coin.

The lack of comment also comes amid a lawsuit from the Securities and Exchange Commission unveiled Monday against Binance and CEO Changpeng Zhao, which rattled cryptocurrency prices. 

Kennedy’s Twitter talk also featured ex-Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan, who briefly mentioned Kennedy’s stance on Bitcoin and CBDC. Yet, the two conversed about the dollar and U.S. Treasuries as opposed to crypto.

Srinivasan asked Kennedy if he could dig into the devaluation of U.S. Treasuries as president, claiming the Federal Reserve has turned one of the safest assets in the world into one of the riskiest ones, effectively “toxic waste.”

“My only answer is, will you be my Treasury Secretary?” Kennedy responded. “Because if you’ve got a solution, I’d like to hear it.”

Kennedy went on to say that concern over the Fed and its appetite for control has been ingrained in his family over the course of generations. He also acknowledged that the global economy’s faith in the U.S.’s credit and currency is waning, putting the dollar’s reserve currency status at risk. 

“That will be a cataclysm for the United States—[it] will make the Great Depression look like a cakewalk,” Kennedy said of a potential decline in the dollar’s status. “I understand the urgent nature of trying to figure out a way to deal with this crisis.”

Former congressman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard—who also spoke at Bitcoin 2023—appeared as a guest during the Twitter Spaces on Monday. She asked Kennedy about ideological shifts within the Democratic Party and his stance on China.

“The Chinese cannot and do not want to compete with us militarily,” Kennedy said, adding negotiations with the country should be collaborative as opposed to “military swaggering.”

Even though the digital assets industry went unremarked upon during Kennedy’s discussion with Musk, the candidate has focussed on topics related to crypto in the past.

Echoing comments made by DeSantis, Kennedy came out swinging against a central bank digital currency (CBDC) last month. He warned a digital dollar in the U.S. would “grease the slippery slope to financial slavery and political tyranny.”

And while Kennedy’s chances of making it to the White House are generally seen as a long shot, the candidate was endorsed by Twitter co-founder and current CEO of fintech firm Block Jack Dorsey on Sunday.

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