Lawyers warn Elon Musk’s Bitcoin pumping tweets could attract SEC’s ire

Lawyers warn Elon Musk’s Bitcoin pumping tweets could attract SEC’s ire

Elon Musk’s rampant Twitter activity could get him into hot water with the SEC according to lawyers.

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Legal advisors have warned that Tesla chief executive Elon Musk could come under scrutiny from the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission over his social media activity around Bitcoin.

On Monday, Feb. 8 Tesla announced in an SEC filing that it had purchased $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoin and will soon start accepting BTC payments. Shortly afterwards, prices of the asset skyrocketed to a new all-time high of a little over $48,000.

Partner at Linklaters and former branch chief of the SEC’s division of enforcement, Doug Davison, told the UK’s Telegraph newspaper:

„It would not be surprising—given the focus on the chief executive’s Tweets, Bitcoin pricing and recent dramatic market moves—for the SEC to ask questions about the facts and circumstances here,“

Former vice president of the European Central Bank, Vitor Constâncio, echoed the sentiment concluding that the “SEC will look into this,”

The SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have the ability to investigate should they suspect market manipulation.

Musk has been very vocal on Twitter shilling Bitcoin and DOGE on numerous occasions which contributed to Bitcoin activity on the social media platform spiking to its highest levels. DOGE spiked to new all time highs following Musk’s endorsement.

There is little doubt that Tesla’s public foray into Bitcoin, and Musk’s influential tweets to his 46.5 million followers, have contributed to this latest price spike.

He is still currently shilling Dogecoin with this recent tweet late on Feb. 10 stating he is buying the asset. DOGE spiked 13% following that particular tweet a few hours ago.

Musk is no stranger to Twitter controversy; he has been previously accused of posting misinformation on the platform regarding Covid-19 and the closure of one of his factories.

In another incident he suggested that Tesla stock price was too high, resulting in a subsequent price slide. The SEC sued Musk for fraud, charging the Tesla chief with making “false and misleading tweets,” but he settled with the regulator soon after.


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Elon Musk’s rampant Twitter activity could get him into hot water with the SEC according to lawyers.

Roger Ver Says Twitter Blocking His Tweets About BCH

Roger Ver Says Twitter Blocking His Tweets About BCH

Roger Ver says Twitter seems to be blocking tweets about non-state issued money.

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Bitcoin.com founder Roger Ver says Twitter seems to be blocking him from sending tweets about non-state issued money. 

Ver said he was trying to send tweets about instant near-field communication, or NFC, payments for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) tokens from be.cash but was unable to. 

Ver, who has been pushing BCH, did not seem to be one of the users affected by the hack on Twitter. Several Twitter accounts, including celebrities and crypto exchanges, were targeted as part of a large-scale hack of the social media platform. The hacker directed people to donate Bitcoin to a now-defunct website called ‘CryptoforHealth.’

Back in June, Ver said Youtube suspended Bitcoin.com’s Youtube account “for basically no reason.” Youtube reversed the decision and claimed the suspension was done in error.


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Roger Ver says Twitter seems to be blocking tweets about non-state issued money.

Twitter Evidence May Prove Hal Finney Is Not Satoshi

Twitter Evidence May Prove Hal Finney Is Not Satoshi

Evidence from 10 years old tweets helps eliminate Hal Finney as a viable Satoshi Nakamoto candidate.

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A tweet from 2010 may provide evidence that Hal Finney is not Satoshi Nakamoto.

In a recent Cointelegrpah interview, Laszlo Hanyecz, who worked closely with Satoshi Nakamoto in 2010, said that Satoshi had no familiarity with the Mac ecosystem:

“He didn’t have a Macintosh. He didn’t know how to build it for Mac.”

Consequently, Satoshi asked him to develop a MacOS version of the Bitcoin client, which he eventually did.

Both Finney & his wife owned a Mac in 2010

However, a 2010 tweet from Hal Finney tells us that both Finney and his wife owned a Mac:

Hal Finney Tweet June 8 2010 Tweet. Source: Twitter.

Although this is by no means incontrovertible evidence, it puts a dent in the theory that Hal Finney was either Satoshi or part of a team behind the pseudonym. However, there are ways to explain this inconsistency. 

If there were several individuals behind the creation of Bitcoin (BTC), it is possible that Hanyecz only communicated with one of several individuals. Perhaps the person overseeing development of the client at that stage did not have a Mac. Another possible explanation is that Satoshi did not believe development for the Mac ecosystem was a top priority, due to its limited market share. He may have therefore decided to delegate this task to Hanyecz so that he could focus on more urgent tasks himself.

These theories seem to fall short when we consider that Hanyecz describes Satoshi as someone who was very controlling and borderline paranoid. It seems unlikely that he would delegate the development of the Mac client to an outsider if the team included Hal Finney — a seasoned developer who was likely capable of taking on the task himself.

Original Bitcoin tweet

Hal Finney’s famous tweet about mining Bitcoin also does not make sense in this context.

Hal Finney Tweet From January 10 2020. First-known Tweet to Mention Bitcoin. Source: Twitter.

Satoshi’s writings confirm that the author was very careful to not reveal any personal information about themself. Would this same individual or team member make such a public statement about running Bitcoin? In addition, Finney had years to delete those tweets, but he never did.

While this does not help solve the Satoshi mystery, it may allow us to eliminate one of the community’s most popular candidates.

Cointelegraph news editor Jeffrey Albus contributed to this article.


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Evidence from 10 years old tweets helps eliminate Hal Finney as a viable Satoshi Nakamoto candidate.

How Traders Can Use Twitter to Anticipate Bitcoin Price Moves, Volume

How Traders Can Use Twitter to Anticipate Bitcoin Price Moves, Volume

Tracking the number of Bitcoin-related tweets can help predict future trading volume

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Bitcoin (BTC) price has been testing the $10,000 mark this month as online metrics like the number of tweets and Google searches mentioning Bitcoin show a two year-high.

Cryptocurrency market weekly overview. Source: Coin360

Cryptocurrency market weekly overview. Source: Coin360

Several relationships have been established between external factors and Bitcoin price evolution. Most notably, social media metrics like the number of tweets mentioning a particular cryptocurrency, the number of comments or posts in a cryptocurrency dedicated subreddit, the number of daily search volume for a specific crypto theme, or even the mentions of “Lambos” on Reddit.

Sentiment analysis from this kind of data can help investors attempting to predict returns, thus making it a novel approach for traditional investors.

Analyzing tweets and Bitcoin price from 2017 to 2019

Looking at the daily number of tweets mentioning Bitcoin since 2017, there is a clear spike during the 2017 bull-run. On Dec. 7, 2017, there was a record-high of 155,600 tweets mentioning Bitcoin. Following that spike, throughout 2018 and 2019 the average number of tweets reduced substantially, although there was a small spike on June 26 during the peak of Bitcoin’s smaller bull run in 2019.Number of daily tweets from January 2017-December 2019.

Number of daily tweets from January 2017-December 2019.

This medium-term trend between the number of tweets and Bitcoin price may suggest that both variables are related or that one can be a predictor of the other. As expected, throughout 2017 the correlation between price and the number of tweets is the highest across the years at 0.86.

A correlation of 1 means that Bitcoin and the number of tweets are fully positively correlated, while — 1 means they are fully inversely correlated. Additionally, a correlation of 0 means they are not correlated in any way.

Even though 2018 was a bear period, the same high relationship between price and tweets remains with a correlation of 0.74. This relationship is much lower in 2019 (0.12) even though Bitcoin showed a great gain in price between March and June.

Correlation between Bitcoin price and the number of daily tweets.

Correlation between Bitcoin price and the number of daily tweets.

Tweets as a predictor of Bitcoin’s volume

High correlation values may tempt enthusiasts to assume that the number of tweets can work as a reliable predictor of Bitcoin’s future prices. However, by employing year-on-year analysis, we find significant results between the number of tweets and volume — a key intake for investors to incorporate these social metrics into their technical analysis.

When it comes to the influence of tweets on Bitcoin’s volume, the relationship during 2017 is stronger than in 2018 or 2019 and significant across the years. In 2017, if the number of tweets increased by 1%, we could assume a higher probability that Bitcoin’s volume would increase by 2.6% on the same day. This relationship holds for the other years but the increase in volume is below 1% in both 2018 and 2019.

By analyzing the future power of tweets to predict next day’s volume, we find similar significant results with similar magnitude, meaning, when today’s number of tweets increase by 1%, Bitcoin’s volume increases the same day by 2.5% in 2017, 0.64% in 2018 and by 0.72% in 2019.

Do tweets accurately predict Bitcoin returns?

The holy grail of any financial market would be the ability to predict future returns. Across the years, we’ve not seen any significant results between the number of tweets and Bitcoin returns. Unless one counts 2019 when the number of tweets increased by 1%, returns would increase by 0.036% on the same day. When trying to establish a relationship between the number of tweets and future Bitcoin returns, we find no significant results, hence we cannot establish the same conclusion as we did regarding volume.

A recent outlook on this relationship

Since the start of the year, Bitcoin has seen tremendous growth resulting in a 27% return for crypto hedge funds in January, the highest performance seen since 2017. This data point aligns with altcoins which are following an even greater positive trend. It also leaves the door open to further research into whether social trends previously observed actually impact crypto trading volume. It would be useful to reconfirm whether or not the start of 2020 shares similar characteristics to the bullish periods in 2017 or 2019.

Bitcoin daily price from Jan.1, 2020-Feb.13, 2020.

Bitcoin daily price from Jan.1, 2020-Feb.13, 2020.

When it comes to the average number of tweets mentioning Bitcoin in January and February this year, there has been an increase from the average observed during 2019 – from a daily average of 18,972 tweets in 2019 to an average of 22,070 tweets in the start of 2020. Besides that, an abnormal spike in the number of tweets happened on Feb.2, increasing the average number of tweets this February (31,945 tweets) in comparison to January (17,929 tweets).

The number of daily tweets from Jan.1, 2020-Feb.13, 2020.

The number of daily tweets from Jan.1, 2020-Feb.13, 2020.

Following this trend, we find that the relationship established between the number of tweets and volume is also observable in the first month and half of 2020. However, the magnitude of the impact that the number of tweets causes in volume is less than in other years.

When the number of tweets increases by 1%, volume increases by 0.423% on the same day. The impact is slightly smaller when looking at the predicting power of the number of tweets. When these increase by 1% today, the volume will increase by 0.44% the next day.

Looking forward, investors can incorporate the influence of the number of tweets into their analysis as the movement in transaction volume occurs consistently throughout the years. All of this is worth some consideration as many analysts have suggested that a new bull trend is taking shape in the crypto market.

Therefore, looking at social metrics spikes like tweets can complement investors’ ability to determine periods of speculation so they can adjust their investment strategies accordingly.

Data for the number of tweets drawn from https://bitinfocharts.com. The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.


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Tracking the number of Bitcoin-related tweets can help predict future trading volume

Bitcoin Tweets Reach 2-Year High as $10K Fuels Google Interest Surge

Bitcoin Tweets Reach 2-Year High as $10K Fuels Google Interest Surge

Google search activity is fast heating up around Bitcoin as it circles $10,000

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Bitcoin (BTC) hitting $10,000 catapulted it back into mainstream consciousness — but internet consumers were paying attention before, data shows.

Statistics from monitoring resource Bitinfocharts reveal that in early February, mentions of Bitcoin on Twitter alone spiked to two-year highs.

75,000 Bitcoin tweets per day

At the time, BTC/USD traded at around $9,400, having reached its highest level since September 2019 several days previously.

Tweets including Bitcoin reached 75,000 on Feb. 2, a huge contrast to standard behavior and the most since early 2018, as markets digested Bitcoin’s precipitous fall from all-time highs of $20,000. 

Subsequent days saw considerably fewer tweets — around 38,000 — still noticeably higher than the months preceding the spike. 

Bitcoin tweets 2-year chart

Bitcoin tweets 2-year chart. Source: Bitinfocharts

Google Trends: searches highest since August

Google search activity has also picked up this month. Analysis for the term “Bitcoin” shows users searched for the term more in the past seven days than at any time since last August.

During that month in 2019, BTC/USD fell from highs of $11,800 to levels below $10,000, having previously seen eighteen-month highs of $13,800. 

Worldwide Google search data for “Bitcoin”

Worldwide Google search data for “Bitcoin.” Source: Google Trends

As Cointelegraph reported, the end of the year had the opposite effect — uninspiring price-performance accompanied a tail-off in awareness and interest online. Events in Iran in January went some way to disrupt the status quo.

At present, according to Google Trends, it is Nigeria and South Africa which form the main sources of renewed curiosity about Bitcoin. These are followed by Austria, Switzerland and Ghana. 

Among the most popular related topics, Square’s Cash app is a noticeable feature, the payment service providing full support for Bitcoin transactions.


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Google search activity is fast heating up around Bitcoin as it circles $10,000

Bitcoin Price Will Crash Below $1k in 2020, ZenGo CEO ‘Jokingly’ Predicts

Bitcoin Price Will Crash Below $1k in 2020, ZenGo CEO ‘Jokingly’ Predicts

ZenGo CEO tweets Bitcoin price will crash below $1k in 2020, admits prediction was a joke

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As the crypto community enters 2020, the CEO of the ZenGo wallet Ouriel Ohayon tweeted his new year predictions, one of which was that the price of Bitcoin will crash below $1,000.

Ohayon tweeted 9 hours ago to press, “Bitcoin will crash to sub-1000 USD.”

Along with his Bitcoin price prediction, Ohayon shared:

“All hardware wallets will be hacked; Tron/XRP will become the most important cryptocurrency; Satoshi identity will be revealed and will be disappointing; Trump will stack sats on twitter; Lightning will have glorious adoption.”

Source Twitter

Was Ohayon being serious?

While it may have initially seemed like Ohayon’s tweet was filled with sarcasm, he clarified his sentiments with another tweet shortly afterwards, saying “joke mode off.”

When asked if he truly believed if these predictions would come true this year, Ohayon told Cointelegraph in another tweet, “I am a disaster at making predictions. Did you notice the thread?”

A few minutes later, Ohayon admitted that his predictions were not serious, but that he was happy to get them out.

Source Twitter

A hint of truth in every joke

While Ohayon’s predictions were more or less a joke, they might bear some real-world weight.

For instance, Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright made the claim in 2019 that he is Satoshi Nakomoto, sparking instant controversy in the crypto space. Ironically, Wright also informed court officials that he could not finance a 500,000 BTC settlement in the case that the Kleiman estate initiated against him in November. Dave Kleiman was a cyber-security expert, whom many believe to have been one of the first developers behind Bitcoin and blockchain technology.

While it may be extreme to predict that every hardware wallet will be hacked this year, a number of vulnerabilities in hardware wallets have recently come to the surface. A Kraken Security Labs’ blog published on Dec. 10 details a “voltage glitching” attack that extracts the encrypted seed used to access cryptocurrency stored on a KeepKey hardware wallet. An attacker can then brute-force attack the encrypted seed, as it is only protected by a 1-9 digit PIN, which Kraken described as “trivial.”

Although it does seem likely that 2020 will be met with more Satoshi Nakomoto identity claims and wallet hacks, one of Ohayon’s predictions does seem a bit farfetched. While it would be a major win for the crypto community to have President Trump tweet about buying Bitcoin, it seems highly unlikely this will happen anytime soon based on a tweet the president sent out on July 11:


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ZenGo CEO tweets Bitcoin price will crash below $1k in 2020, admits prediction was a joke

Trump Tweets Crypto Rant — What Is the Bitcoin Reference Really About?

Trump Tweets Crypto Rant — What Is the Bitcoin Reference Really About?

Mnuchin and big banks loom behind President Donald Trump’s crypto tweets

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Over the last few years, United States President Donald Trump’s tweetstorms have become a peculiar yet amusing feature of American public life. The president’s off-the-cuff comments have served a wide variety of purposes, from enriching political discourse with the mysterious term covfefe to delivering direct threats — furnished with proper capitalization — to the leadership of the nations deemed U.S. adversaries. The most newsworthy rants almost invariably felt improvised, emotional and reactive. However, the historic series of tweets that constituted the first-ever public comment on cryptocurrencies by a sitting U.S. president didn’t seem to fit the same mold.

If anything, the three-prong statement comes across as consistent, strategically timed and unusually well-articulated. It opens with a general critique of cryptocurrencies, then proceeds to extend the punch to Libra, Facebook’s much-discussed prospective digital currency, and concludes with a feel-good declaration lauding the U.S. dollar as the “most dominant currency anywhere in the World.”

The statement, seemingly uncalled for, came days before Libra’s chief, David Marcus, was slated to face Congress in two back-to-back hearings. Earlier on the day, when cryptocurrencies incurred President Trump’s wrath, Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve’s chair, admitted before the Senate Banking Committee that a globally entrenched cryptocurrency could potentially render existing reserve currencies obsolete.

Finally, four days after Trump’s tweets, Treasury Secretary Steven Muchin echoed the president’s concerns almost verbatim during a press conference during which he contended that cryptocurrencies posed a “national security threat.” At that point, it became difficult not to see the messages coming out of the administration as a coordinated viewpoint.

It is no surprise many in the crypto community came to suspect that the tweets were not Trump’s own. Preston Byrne, a pro-Trump blockchain lawyer, was among the president’s supporters who expressed doubts over the message’s authorship, adding, “This is more likely coming from the Treasury Department — that’d be Secretary Mnuchin — and at the behest in particular of the banks.” The Verge’s Elizabeth Lopatto questioned Trump’s understanding of the subject matter altogether, “I do not believe for an instant that the president could define a cryptocurrency, explain what bitcoin is, or even know what Libra (much less its Association) is supposed to be.”

Immediate response

Whoever had penned the tweets, cryptocurrency prices took a tumble immediately, then bounced upward briefly before entering an even greater hit, flashing red signals all across the market. Although some analysts claimed that it was not President Trump’s remarks that had triggered the reversal, both the timing and steepness of the decline correspond to what one could interpret as a sell-off in the wake of major negative news.

Despite the immediate market dynamics in the aftermath of the tweetstorm, the spirits of many opinion leaders were high. The common theme was that, regardless of the valence of the presidential statement, the sheer fact of mention is a strategic win for the blockchain industry, as more than 60 million of Trump’s followers have become aware of the cryptocurrencies’ existence. Jeremy Allaire, the co-founder and CEO of financial services company Circle, called the development “possibly the largest bull signal for BTC ever” while Forbes’ Billy Bambrough observed that Trump “has inadvertently catapulted bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into a presidential issue and given valuable recognition to the burgeoning bitcoin technology.”

In the short run, though, such a negative introduction could well damage cryptocurrencies’ standing with millions of Americans. Many industry stalwarts, such as Caitlin Long and John McAfee, urged the president to further educate himself on the issue before making strong statements. Nigel Green, the founder and CEO of deVere Group, remarked that discarding digital currencies in the advent of the digital era is a questionable way to go.

Unsurprisingly, the anti-Bitcoin rant cost Trump support of some of his former allies among crypto-loving libertarians and right-wingers. Gab, a social medium notorious for becoming a haven for public figures exiled from more mainstream platforms for the extremity of viewpoints they expressed, tweeted back at the president their defense of Bitcoin as “free speech money.” It remains unknown if President Trump is aware of the existence of this brand of his supporters, maybe someone crypto-friendly who has his ear — e.g., Mick Mulvaney had tipped him off. Yet, it doesn’t seem likely that the president would sacrifice his strategic financial policy messaging in order to make such niche groups feel good.

The importance of “thin air”

Beyond taking issue with the fact of the president’s arguably uninformed criticism, the substance of his claims deserves a thorough rebuttal as well. Granted, there has been no shortage of thoughtful deconstructions offered by the blockchain industry in the days right after Trump’s tweets and his account erupted with the anti-crypto rant.

For sure, as the person with so much influence over the dollar, a sitting U.S. president is in no position to express any kind of public endorsement of what could potentially threaten the dollar’s hegemony as a medium of exchange and a reserve currency. However, the kind of shallow criticism that President Trump offered doesn’t hold any water when faced with any systematic counterargument. Such an outburst does little to advance a much-needed and nuanced conversation about how the incumbent financial system would be reconciled with the emerging realm of crypto finance.

Trump argued that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are not money, as their value is “highly volatile and based on thin air.” Perhaps this is accurate for those who espouse the very narrow (and rather antiquated) definition of money as a unit of value issued by a central government and backed by a nation state’s economy. But it is 2019, and many prominent thinkers adhere to more flexible and broad definitions, which is something to contend with.

In a post for The Merkle, George McDonaugh rightfully observed that what is money and what is not is highly context-dependent, saying “Cigarettes are money in prisons, bullets are money in war zones and bitcoin is money in Venezuela.” Borderless and globally priced, Bitcoin can be money in many ways fiat currencies are not, if given a chance.

Further still, the global reserve currency status is context-dependent as well. As the Western powers butchered each other into poverty and devastation during two world wars, the United States came out on top as the world’s most powerful economy, propelling the dollar to the status of global reserve currency along the way. This is the context, and the context is always subject to change. The value of both USD and Bitcoin is based on trust — they just go about it differently. In many ways, algorithmically maintained trust looks superior to the fragile assumptions that underlie the financial system powered by a $22 trillion debt.

Now, facilitation of crime. The tale is so rusty that, for many crypto aficionados, it has become difficult to go on yet another round of debunking it without rolling their eyes. McAfee chose a classic way to retort: It is true that Bitcoin gave a certain edge to villains for a short time, but so did every consequential invention in history, including, for example, the telephone. As of today, the track record of U.S. law enforcement agencies picking criminals’ traces off blockchains is already impressive, and there is no reason to expect that a future regulation-compliant decentralized digital asset would be any different in this regard.

As The Next Web’s Yessi Bello Perez reminded, most cryptocurrencies are pseudonymous, while cash is anonymous — guess which one is better suited for illicit activities by design? Moreover, when cash is no longer around, centrally issued currencies will surely facilitate financial surveillance of an unprecedented scale, as Coin Center’s Neeraj K. Agrawal aptly pointed out.

All in all, while it is hard to expect anything else than a firm no-coin stance from a public servant tasked with overseeing the U.S. national currency, the set of arguments that Donald Trump recently advanced have several pronounced gaps to take a dig at. Moreover, the ever-expanding blockchain-based financial system is not going anywhere as a result of Trump’s tweets. It will remain right there, close behind the traditional institutions, waiting for The Donald or the next U.S. leader to address it in earnest.


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Mnuchin and big banks loom behind President Donald Trump’s crypto tweets

President Donald Trump Tweets Opposition to Cryptocurrencies

President Donald Trump Tweets Opposition to Cryptocurrencies

President Trump tweets opposition to cryptocurrencies less than a week before congressional hearings on Libra

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Disclaimer: this story is breaking and will be subject to updates.

President Donald Trump voiced his opposition to cryptocurrencies as a whole, Bitcoin and Libra specifically in a series of tweets around 8:15 p.m. EST on July 11.

The full text of the three tweets reads: 

“I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity….

“…Similarly, Facebook Libra’s ‘virtual currency’ will have little standing or dependability. If Facebook and other companies want to become a bank, they must seek a new Banking Charter and become subject to all Banking Regulations, just like other Banks, both National…

“…and International. We have only one real currency in the USA, and it is stronger than ever, both dependable and reliable. It is by far the most dominant currency anywhere in the World, and it will always stay that way. It is called the United States Dollar!”

What prompted President Trump to issue these tweets is a matter for speculation, but presumably has something to do with the impending congressional hearings on Project Libra scheduled for next Tuesday and Wednesday, July 16 and July 17.

Likewise, the intended result of these tweets in terms of policy or practice remains uncertain.


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President Trump tweets opposition to cryptocurrencies less than a week before congressional hearings on Libra