Presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on May 3 condemned a 30% crypto mining tax proposed by the Biden administration and responded to concerns around crypto.
Kennedy says crypto regulation is a power grab
Kennedy, who is running in the 2024 U.S. presidential elections, said in a thread on Twitter:
“Cryptocurrencies, led by Bitcoin, along with other crypto technologies are a major innovation engine … Biden’s proposed 30% tax on cryptocurrency mining is a bad idea.”
Kennedy argued that proposals for controls on cryptocurrency and crypto mining are politically motivated. He called arguments around Bitcoin’s high energy consumption a “selective pretext” to control threats against elite power structures.
He further argued that the United States economy will be more resilient if Bitcoin and many other currencies are available along with the U.S. dollar.
The Biden administration’s plan to introduce a 30% mining tax was previously reported on May 2. The possible tax was also discussed in a tax plan in March.
RFK Jr. argues gaming is as demanding as mining
Kennedy conceded that energy consumption involved in Bitcoin mining is a “concern.” However, he argued that mining uses approximately the same amount of energy as video games do and noted that gaming does not face calls for regulation.
Kennedy did not say where he obtained that data. However, one possible source is a 2020 estimate from the mining group Braiins, which suggests that video gaming consumes 104.7 TWh of energy per year globally. By contrast, Cambridge University data suggests that Bitcoin mining currently uses 131.53 TWh of energy per year in total.
Kennedy questions Bitcoin’s use in crime
Kennedy also argued that Bitcoin is not not just used by “criminals who want privacy,” contrary to some critics. He said that political dissidents and regular citizens may also have a need to use Bitcoin as governments can control bank accounts and payments.
His assertion about crime is supported by some statistics. Data from Elliptic suggests that less than 5% of all crypto transactions have been related to crime since 2016.
However, other studies suggest that 46% of Bitcoin transactions were used in illegal activity as recently as 2018. As such, the true amount of crypto-related crime is unknown.
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