And the winner is… Bitcoin! (?)

Forget blue waves and red walls. Forget Antifa and Teh Donald. Bitcoin Australia is running a story titled “Bitcoin is the Real Winner of US Midterms.”

The title made me think of those ridiculous headlines followed by exclamation marks (the more the better), like “Bitcoin will cure cancer and prevent earthquakes” or something like that. But despite the ridiculous title this story has some interesting information.

The Bitcoin Australia story focus on Jared Polis and Gavin Newsom, who were elected governors of Colorado and California. Polis is the first openly gay governor to be elected in the history of the United States, as well as the first Jewish governor of Colorado. Newsom is a businessman, and was an early advocate for same sex marriage, universal healthcare, and the legalization of cannabis.

Polis has been recently described as a “charismatic whiz kid who grew up to be a multimillionaire entrepreneur and congressman.” Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco, is the author of “Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government” (2014).

It turns out that, besides their liberal positions, Polis and Newsome have something in common: Both are “outspoken supporters of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain.”

In his campaign website Polis says:

“As governor, I will ensure that Colorado explores the potential use of blockchain technology and works alongside the business community, policy experts, local communities, and Coloradans to build a robust economy for the future.”
“My goal is to establish Colorado as a national hub for blockchain innovation in business and government.I believe strong leadership will put Colorado at the forefront of innovation in this sector — encouraging companies to flock to the state and establishing government applications that save taxpayers money and create value for Colorado residents.”
“Similar to Wyoming, I will work alongside the legislature to create a statewide safe harbor designed to exempt cryptocurrencies from state money transmissions laws, and I will work to establish legislation that protects ‘open blockchain tokens’ or cryptocurrencies that are exchangeable for goods and services.”

Bitcoin Magazine notes that Polis “sent a satirical letter to federal regulators that called for a ban on the USD, a parodical and caustic response to Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) own letter to federal regulators that requested a ban on bitcoin.”

“In league with Representative David Schweikert (R-AZ), he also proposed the Cryptocurrency Tax Fairness Actin 2017. ‘Similar to foreign currency transactions,’ a summary reads, ‘it allows consumers to make small purchases with cryptocurrency up to $600 without burdensome reporting requirements.’”

Bitcoin Magazine adds that Newsom started to support cryptocurrencies with “a simple yet pioneering decision to accept bitcoin as a campaign donation in 2014.”

In a 2014 Government Technology interview, Newsom said:

“I came from a place of absolute confusion and cynicism on bitcoin. If anybody started talking about cryptocurrency, I’d start rolling my eyes and yawning and going, ‘Give me a break.’ Now I find it fascinating.”

According to Government Technology, Newsom’s campaign staff pleaded with him for months not to take a public stand on bitcoin. “But he said if he was going to preach disruption, then ‘I should promote the technology ever so subtly by saying I’ll accept bitcoin in the campaign.’”

In a 2013 Fortune interview, Newsom stated that government technology is stuck in the past. But he added that something special is happening, “with the ability now for people to engage peer-to-peer directly and not necessarily wait for centralized institutions and permission to be able to navigate.”

However, Bitcoin Australia warns that Newsom’s pro-cryptocurrency stance “may clash with his history of pro-regulation rhetoric.”

In fact, and even more so in today’s over-polarized political climate, many liberals are tempted to defending intrusive government regulations, the more the better an the stricter the better, at all costs. It remains to be seen how the struggle between enthusiasm for empowering technology on the one hand, and pro-regulation zealotry on the other hand, will play out.

Picture from pxhere.