Illustration by Mitchell Preffer for Decrypt
After last week’s dramatic conclusion to the months-long Bitcoin ETF saga, this week saw mainstream finance and political forces attempt to embrace the crypto ethos, for better or worse.
On Wednesday, the digital assets team at Wall Street investment firm Franklin Templeton took over the company’s Twitter account, to attempt to inject some youthful energy into the legacy company after the buzzy debut of several spot Bitcoin ETFs.
The reference alluded to Dogwifhat, a viral Solana meme coin that’s performed phenomenally well in the last month.
In response to such posts, Van Eck, another Wall Street investment firm that launched its own spot Bitcoin ETF last week, attempted to throw some shade at its rival by getting even hipper with the degen lingo.
The back and forth certainly tickled some crypto enthusiasts, who were encouraged that financial titans now embrace crypto rhetoric. But the dialogue also struck some as—not to date this reporter—a bit cringe.
Meanwhile, in politics, crypto found itself at the front and center of the Republican presidential primary this week, as several developments brought blockchain technology to the fore.
On Monday evening, after a poor showing at the Iowa caucuses, crypto advocate Vivek Ramaswamy dropped out of the race and hastily endorsed the race’s front-runner, Donald Trump.
Crypto advocates were hopeful that Ramaswamy’s vocal advocacy for the industry might—following the endorsement—bleed into the Trump campaign. Ramaswamy even said himself that just before running on stage to give a speech with Trump, he told the former president to consider banning the creation of an American central bank digital currency (CBDC).
Indeed, at a speech in New Hampshire just hours later, Trump pledged to “never allow” the creation of a CBDC in the United States—potentially confirming the sway of crypto allies like Ramaswamy in Trump’s inner circle.
Just a day later, Trump also debuted yet another suite of on-chain digital collectibles—this time, minted as Ordinals on the Bitcoin network.
The moves appear to have cemented Trump’s status as the most attractive presidential candidate for crypto heading into 2024’s key general election.
But the former president does not come without baggage: Trump currently faces 91 criminal charges in multiple state and federal jurisdictions. Further, based on the business mogul’s past statements and actions, many in Washington and beyond fear his election might threaten the stability of American democracy.
Many in crypto may soon have to choose between supporting industry and other priorities. Some have already made that decision.