INTERVIEW: Bruce Fenton Is Running For Senate On An Unregulated Bitcoin Market Platform

Zinger Key Points
  • As crypto prices struggle, Fenton believes a self-regulating market with no government oversight is the best solution. 

It has been a long July in this crypto winter, and inflation has heated up more than expected, reaching a 40-year high in June.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 9.1% year-over-year, the most significant increase since the end of 1981, according to Labor Department data. The CPI increased 1.3% between May and June, the biggest increase since 2005, reflecting rising prices for gasoline, food and shelter. 

Bitcoin BTC/USD, the world's most famous cryptocurrency, has moved toward recovery, increasing from just over $19,000 at the beginning of July to over $23,000 at the time of writing. 

Ethereum ETH/USD jumped 10% on Monday following news from the Ethereum Foundation that the anticipated "merge" could happen on Sept. 19. The merge will transition us to the long-awaited Ethereum 2.0, shifting from the energy-intensive proof-of-work consensus mechanism to a more energy-efficient proof-of-stake model. Ethereum is up nearly 50% over the last four weeks, but it remains down 60% year-to-date. 

If we had a weekly award for "Best Positive Participation in the Crypto Community," we might give it to Ania Sari, a Michigan-born and Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter. Ania built on her success as an alumna of Apple Music Creative Studios and Soho House and Creative Futures Mentorship Programs to drop her first single, "Crypto Mind," at the start of the month. 

Image Source: AniaSari.com

The single has a warm R&B/pop sound, led by Ania's smooth vocals, but the sentiments in the song's lyrics are potentially helpful for the whole community to bear in mind, whether you apply them strictly to the crypto market or in other parts of your life. 

The song gently asks:

"Say you're here for the long run; Not short-term fun. Want to watch the growth. See potential in both of us."

The sentiment is consistent with the advice of most crypto investing analysts, who consistently suggest that a fixation on short-term price movements is not a healthy strategy. 

"I definitely want this song 'Crypto Mind' to be like an anthem for people in crypto and investing … I wanted it to feel light-hearted, and at the time, crypto was booming. It was amazing. It's just ironic that when I released it, everything had changed. But of course, we can't depend on the markets to always stay the same," Sari said. 

Sari may have written the song for a different kind of crypto market, but perhaps a little positivity is what the blockchain community needs at a time like this. 

Bruce Fenton is also passionate about his work and crypto. Fenton is the former executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation and one of the founders of the Satoshi Roundtable. He has since turned his attention to running for one of New Hampshire's U.S. Senate seats.

Earlier this week, Fenton made a brave performance with a 30-hour, record-breaking "Save the Filibuster" speech. Fenton's protest was in response to comments President Joe Biden made last month that suggested the Senate should end the filibuster and pass a law codifying abortion rights after the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade in June.

We interviewed Fenton on Web3 Anarchy to talk about how crypto can boost the U.S. economy and how to navigate the downturn.

BZ: What led you to take an interest in running for U.S. Senate?

"The biggest thing for me is the overall reduction of rights in the United States that we've seen over the last 20 to 30 years, whether that's privacy or most recently the medical tyranny–mandated injections, mandated masks, these kinds of things. I didn't think that that would be possible in our country. And I didn't think it was possible under our Constitution. And I still think it shouldn't be. So that's something that I wanted to run so that I could fight for freedom and the Constitution."

(According to HealthAffairs, the mandates from the September 2021 OSHA ruling apply as follows: "The rule mandates COVID-19 vaccination, absent a medical or religious exemption, for all health care workers in institutions that receive federal funding for patients enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid.”)

Are you interested in addressing excessive government oversight and other areas as well?

"I've been concerned about the increase in government tyranny for a long time. For the last 20 to 30 years, we've seen the creation of the TSA and AML and KYC laws ... There's more government involvement, more tyranny, and less individual control…"

What difference can Bitcoin make in our troubled national and global economy?

"Well, the big thing is that Bitcoin is money, and the money that we're using in the government and as a country is broken. Money needs to be limited in supply and our money, the U.S. dollar, is unlimited supply. They are printing it from thin air and giving it to cronies. And that's not money. That's a scam … It hurts people economically, it causes inflation, but it also is evil. It causes all kinds of great evil, like for-profit prisons, and drone bombings all over the world, and all kinds of other horrible things. Because the government doesn't have accountability, and that's probably the worst thing in the world right now."

Bitcoin is staked on the faith of a positively participating community. What is it that you're proposing? Staking value with the consumer instead of with the government?

"Ultimately, money is money when people believe it's money. The acceptability of money is one of the necessary properties… and people are accepting dollars less, there are people who are concerned about dollars. People will believe in it if it is scarce and durable and acceptable and meets the other properties that money has historically had for hundreds and hundreds of years long before cryptocurrency … If you print it from thin air, it's not meeting those properties. Inflation and other economic problems we have right now are directly the results of bad monetary policy."

To what do you attribute the crypto downturn that we're experiencing right now?

"It's part of the normal cycle. You know, crypto goes through these cycles quite regularly. And in some ways, it's a healthy shake-out. A lot of projects needed to be shaken out. But not all crypto is equal. Bitcoin is a different story. Bitcoin is money in limited supply and didn't have the leverage issues that some other projects had."

In your policy statements, you are in favor of an unregulated crypto market. Is it your opinion that congress should leave crypto alone?

"Oh, absolutely. You know, there's this idea that because you know crypto, you'll make a better Senator. I don't want them to know about crypto. I don't want them to know anything. I want them to stay out of it. It's not like you're going to be so smart that you're going to make the right rules to interfere with my life. Nobody's that smart. I don't know their life better than they do from my farm in New Hampshire. And if I'm sent down there to Washington, D.C., that doesn't magically make me smart enough to know how to manage somebody else's life. Everybody should be able to manage their own life and their own business."

Some suggest that a clear regulatory structure from the U.S. government is required to stabilize the crypto market. Do you disagree?

"We don't need a nanny government to make more rules for their cronies and their pals to make already excellent technology better, that there's nothing that they're going to do that's going to make Bitcoin better. These projects should be working on their own merit. People who cry for regulation it's often due to their own uncertainties. You don't need a nanny state to tell you what's okay. That's not how entrepreneurism works. You should go out, and if you have an idea, go out and pursue it."

Should the government be involved in vetting projects that have hurt crypto consumers, like Terra Network?

"No, not at all. The premise of that question assumes that they could or would or know how to do things, and they don't... Pretty much the one thing they're good at is killing. But they're not good at technology. They're not good at making things better. And they're not good at deciding what's a scam or what's not a scam. Don't forget Bernie Madoff, one of the biggest scammers in the history of America, was the head of the largest regulator. So the idea that the regulators are going to fix things, you know, they couldn't even stop Bernie Madoff under their own roof. What they do is burden all the honest actors all the time. The market works faster and more efficiently than regulators ever could, and with a lot fewer drawbacks. "

In an ideal world, where would you draw the regulatory line?

"It's simple. Just let people do what they want, as long as it doesn't harm someone else's life, liberty, or property. Fraud is already illegal. We just don't need these securities rules … the people who wrote those rules were born in an era without cars, and their dads were Civil War veterans. And they had never, ever heard the word 'computer.' I don't think we need government for any of this. It's much better done by the private sector."

Do you think there should be self-regulating bodies in the crypto industry?

"Self-regulation is great, as long as it's voluntary self-regulation. The SEC has a self-regulatory body that it supports called FINRA. But it's mandated by law. You can't be a broker in the United States without being a FINRA member. It's not possible. If there's a need for something, the private market will fill it. So if there's a need for people to say, you know, what's a scam or what's not, there is more education and more data. These kinds of things are good."

Conclusion 

Fenton is a likable speaker with some solid credentials in the crypto world, but it remains to be seen if advocating Bitcoin will be enough to persuade voters.

Brock Pierce, also of the Bitcoin Foundation, ran his 2020 U.S. presidential campaign as an independent on a platform of crypto and libertarian values. Ultimately the run didn't garner many votes, and Pierce declared the campaign a proof of concept.

Fenton is on the ballot in the New Hampshire Republican primary on Sept. 13, 2022. Although he has some of the affect of an independent candidate, he is running for the GOP, which shows in his rhetoric. 

For example, the record-breaking filibuster Bruce staged as a protest was a move to keep the filibuster in place and keep Biden from shoring up reproductive rights in light of the repeal of Roe V. Wade.

This may not be a problem depending on your ideological POV, but it seems out of step with the "keep government out of my business" attitude of the rest of his positions. 

Whether you are talking about the deflated Terra LUNA/USD bubble or maintaining the autonomy of women all over the U.S., there is a definite cost to inaction. As much as I would like to believe that a self-regulating or unregulated market will always act honestly, recent history has shown that it is not the case. So the question to everyone who constitutes the crypto space is, are we really better off with no intervention?

Even if, as a retail investor, you are ready to embrace the Darwinism of an unregulated market, the "big money" institutional investors are not ready to share the risk with you. We saw their opinion when institutional money was shifted from crypto into safer investments at the sign of an economic downturn. So we are left with the question, how much is absolute freedom meant to cost us before we agree on a regulatory structure that can discourage bad actors and protect investors?

Regardless of when this down market will finally end, regulation is a question that will have to be addressed before the next inevitable crypto winter.  

Perhaps we need to take a cue from Ania Sari's song and "say we're here for the long-run" — with thoughtful oversight that incrementally allows innovative blockchain companies to thrive while discouraging obvious cash grabs. Little by little, we will get there together. 

Cover image source: MBatty from Pixabay.

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