Ramaswamy criticizes DeSantis’ Bitcoin comment

Bitcoin has become a topic of discussion in the 2024 U.S. presidential election, with Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy claiming to be the only candidate who truly understands the cryptocurrency. In contrast, fellow candidate Ron DeSantis has promised to “protect the ability to do things like Bitcoin,” but Ramaswamy believes that this statement shows a shallow understanding of Bitcoin. Ramaswamy wrote the book “Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam,” which DeSantis reportedly read and borrowed ideas from, including the importance of Bitcoin and opposition to central bank digital currencies. While some consider Ramaswamy a longshot in the presidential race, he views Bitcoin as a decentralized alternative to the U.S. dollar and wants to hold the existing financial system accountable. He also believes that Bitcoin can be a source of competition that strengthens the financial system. In contrast, former President Donald Trump once referred to Bitcoin as a “scam,” and some politicians, like U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, are viewed by Ramaswamy as blinded by their quest for power and control.

Ramaswamy’s Bitcoin backstory

The 37-year-old former high school valedictorian and summa cum laude Harvard biology graduate says he first came across Bitcoin while at Yale Law School.

“When I was in law school I had a full-time job as a hedge fund manager too. So I was entrenched in financial markets,” Ramaswamy explained. “Then I heard this completely parallel system under the mantra ‘code is law.’ That’s when it caught my attention.”

The “code is law” principle is popular in the cryptocurrency community and considers actions triggered by computer code just and fair despite being potentially controversial. The most popular instance of this is the 2016 Ethereum DAO hack.

Ramaswamy, who has a reported net worth of around $630 million, eventually bought some Bitcoin (BTC), but for the sake of “best practice” during his campaign, no longer self-manages his personal portfolio and can’t confirm if he still holds any.

During a speech at the Bitcoin 2023 conference, he claimed to be the first Republican candidate in the current election cycle to accept Bitcoin donations and the first ever to do so over the Lightning Network, a Bitcoin scaling solution for cheaper and faster transactions.

“We’re accepting donations via the Lightning Network,” Ramaswamy said. “I will elevate these issues that we just talked about to the center of the Republican debates in the primaries.”

Edited by Bradley Keoun.

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