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Bitcoin voters could decide close U.S. elections as bipartisan political support grows - Lyn Alden

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(Kitco News) - Bitcoin is seeing increased political support from both U.S. parties and this could have major implications in tight races, according to Lyn Alden, Founder of Lyn Alden Strategy.

“Bitcoin was more quickly embraced by the Republican Party,” Alden said, “but we had one of the leading Democratic candidates speaking at the Bitcoin conference, and there's a book published just months ago called ‘A Progressive’s Case for Bitcoin.’ I think we're seeing footholds where Bitcoin is not just seen as a conservative or libertarian-adjacent technology and instead it's one that at least certain segments of the political left are embracing more.”

Alden spoke with Michelle Makori, Lead Anchor and Editor-in-Chief at Kitco News at Bitcoin Miami earlier this month. She said this bipartisan support will be important when new legislation is proposed to go after miners or cut Bitcoin off from the banking system.

“It gets much harder to pass when you have at least significant minorities on both sides that are willing to go to bat for it,” she said. “I think it's a positive, and for sure it's one of the most constructive takeaways I have from this conference.”

Bitcoin voters could decide close races

Alden also sees Bitcoin becoming a bigger issue during election campaigns, because it will be a key issue to a growing segment of the electorate.

“It won't be, for most people, their biggest campaign issue, but there's an increasing but small percentage of people [who are] single-issue voters over Bitcoin,” she said. “Given how tight elections are, especially in certain states, if you have three percent of the population that is willing to switch sides, or not vote, or vote independent based on a candidate's Bitcoin position, I do think that becomes increasingly politically relevant in either the next Bitcoin cycle or the one after that, and overall a positive.”

Energy impact is overblown

She also believes there's too much focus on the energy that Bitcoin mining consumes rather than the productivity that it generates, and the reasons are both economic and political.

“It's actually one of those things where there's public misperception around it, there's political misperception, and then there's some competing interests that can purposely muddle that perception on the political side,” Alden said. “I think we're in an environment now where the existing system, whether it's governments, whether it's banking systems, would not exactly be thrilled with a much larger Bitcoin network.”

She said Bitcoin miners are often targeted by misleading environmental arguments related to climate change or energy consumption.

Mining impact is minuscule

“When you look at Bitcoin mining specifically, that's usually one of the most popular angles to attack it on,” she said. “Instead of someone saying ‘I don't like Bitcoin, but people can own it if they want,’ they say ‘well, if they keep owning it they're going to boil the ocean, so we have to take action.’”

Alden said that when people hear that Bitcoin mining uses as much electricity as Argentina “that sounds horrific, that sounds like something absolutely is out of control”, but it doesn't tell the real story.

“If you say Bitcoin uses 0.1 percent of global energy usage, it’s something like 0.5 percent of global electricity usage, does that sound like where we should have a lot of our attention?” she asked. “Probably not, especially if it's actually serving a productive new use.”

Miners don’t compete with consumers, industry

Another thing Alden said people need to understand is that Bitcoin uses mostly non-rival energy, meaning they already set up in places where they are not competing with consumers and other industries for high-priced electricity.

“They have to find the lowest electricity prices, and what are the cheapest energy prices? Usually energy sources that are stranded,” she said. “Someone built a hydro dam and there's all this electricity being produced and there's not enough buyers of electricity near it, so Bitcoin miners will come in and say ‘we'll buy it for two cents a kilowatt hour and we'll make use of it.’ So the question is, is that harming anyone else? No.”

Alden said that over the long term, the market will push Bitcoin miners towards cheap and stranded sources of electricity where they won’t be threatening anyone else's energy needs.

To hear more of Alden’s views on Bitcoin’s political and energy challenges, watch the above video.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.