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Ron DeSantis launches Presidential run with defense of Bitcoin, renewed attack on CBDC

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(Kitco News) - Florida Governor Ron DeSantis formally launched his bid for the White House in 2024 on Wednesday, and he made protecting crypto a key part of his pitch while taking aim at President Joe Biden.

“The current regime, clearly, has it out for Bitcoin,” DeSantis said during a Twitter Space with Elon Musk, the social media platform’s CEO, and venture capitalist David Sacks. “And if it continues for another four years, they’ll probably end up killing it.”

DeSantis used the announcement of his candidacy for next year’s Presidential election to position himself as a champion of small government and financial freedom.

“The only reason these people in Washington don’t like [Bitcoin] is because they don’t control it,” DeSantis said. “They’re central planners and they want to have control over society and so Bitcoin represents a threat to them.”

DeSantis added that unlike the current administration, he does not feel the need “to control everything that people may be doing” in the digital assets space. “I think people should be able to do bitcoin,” he said. “As president, we'll protect the ability to do things like bitcoin.”

The presidential hopeful also repeated his forceful opposition to the creation of a U.S. central bank digital currency (CBDC), sometimes referred to as a ‘digital dollar,’ saying he would insist on Congressional authorization before a CBDC could ever be implemented.

Unlike decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, CBDCs are directly controlled and issued by governments, potentially giving them the ability to see all consumer activity and limit certain purchases.

“If I’m President, we are not doing a central bank digital currency,” he said. “I think that that would be a huge, huge imposition on people’s financial freedoms and financial privacy.”

DeSantis has emerged as a leading voice against the digital dollar project and any other government-controlled digital currency in recent months.

On May 12, DeSantis signed Florida’s anti-CBDC bill into law, banning the use of American or foreign CBDCs in the state, and accused President Biden's administration of wanting to “crowd out and eliminate other types of digital assets, like cryptocurrency.”

DeSantis first announced the bill on March 20 while standing in front of a podium that read “Big Brother’s Digital Dollar.” He said at the time that the creation of a digital dollar would grant “more power” to the government.

The presidential hopeful cited concerns over rising inflation in the U.S., increasing interest rates, and the recent pressure on banks as examples of how government policies have had a direct negative effect on U.S. consumers.

“You’re opening up a major can of worms and you’re handing a central bank huge, huge amounts of power,” he warned.

DeSantis also highlighted the effect that a CBDC would have on commercial banks, saying that it could “diminish the role of community banks and credit unions in our financial system as CBDC currency would be a direct liability of the Federal government, rather than of a chartered financial institution, shrinking market lending power.”

The bill also bans the state from participating in any CBDC development activities, including tests and pilot programs such as Project Cedar, the New York Fed’s CBDC pilot, which recently moved from the research to the development phase.

A Quinnipiac poll released May 24 shows DeSantis with 25% support among Republican and Republican leaning voters, trailing former President Donald Trump’s 56%, with 65% of all registered voters also saying Biden was too old for a second term.

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