The bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry was left reeling last month when U.S. president Donald Trump unleashed a surprise, scathing attack on crypto and Facebook’s planned libra project.
The bitcoin price had climbed sharply ahead of social media giant Facebook’s announcement it’s planning to release a bitcoin-rival some time next year but the latest bitcoin bull run came to an abrupt halt last month after Trump and global regulators voiced their opposition to Facebook’s plans.
Now, former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has positioned himself opposite Trump, saying he thinks bitcoin and “cryptocurrencies have a big future.”
“[Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies] could be a very important part going forward, particularly in this global populist revolt,” Bannon told CNBC, adding he has been buying up bitcoin during its 2018 bear market as he had “enough foresight, enough courage to buy as it went all the way down.”
Last month, Trump attacked bitcoin, branding it and other cryptocurrencies “unregulated crypto assets” that can “facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity.”
Trump’s comments were echoed by other senior members of his administration, including U.S. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin, who called bitcoin a “national security issue.”
Bannon, who helped build and run the U.S. “alt-right” political news website Breitbart, added that it was no surprise central banks and governments want to regulate bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as they “want to stay with” government-backed and controlled fiat currencies.
Bannon’s support of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies appear to be an attempt to head off Chinese and emerging market dominance, with CNBC quoting him as saying “[some countries] are starting to put these payment systems in that are going to kind of give them, try to give them, global dominance and be able to get off the reserve currency of the dollar.”
While Bannon’s comments put him at odds with Trump on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, their goals appear to be the same, with Trump previously tweeting: “[The U.S. dollar] is by far the most dominant currency anywhere in the world, and it will always stay that way.”
Since leaving the White House in 2017, Bannon has said he’s working to get Trump reelected in 2020 and has been seen meeting with far-right leaders around the world