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Stephen Bannon, co-founder of Breitbart News and former Chief Strategist for U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, is planning to enter the world of crypto, the New York Times reports today, June 14.
The New York Times reports that Bannon is currently planning his foray into the world of cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). According to the Times, Bannon has held private meetings with both crypto investors and hedge fund managers about the possibility of issuing an ICO through his investment firm, Bannon Company.
However, Bannon told the New York Times that he would not be specific about his crypto plans, as linking his constroversial reputation to projects could hurt their chances of success.
Bannon — who the Times reports has a “good stake” in Bitcoin (BTC) — ran alt-right, anti-establishment media outlet Breitbart News until January of this year. He also served in the Trump administration until his dismissal in August 2017, allegedly due to his critical remarks about the president in Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury.
Bannon reportedly first got interested in the crypto sphere through former child actor turned crypto entrepreneur, Brock Pierce, when Bannon was working as vice chairman of Pierce’s gaming company. Bannon told the New York Times that it was his job with the Trump campaign that prevented him from getting involved with Pierce and crypto back in 2016.
Timothy Lewis, the co-founder of the Ikigai crypto hedge fund, told the New York Times that he was “impressed” with Bannon’s knowledge of crypto technology when he met with him last month to speak about crypto and ICO government regulations:
“I didn’t know what to expect going in, but he had clearly done his homework.”
According to the New York Times, Bannon had previously brought up the idea of creating his own cryptocurrency this spring at Harvard, dubbed the “deplorables coin” in an homage to Hillary Clinton’s reference to Trump supporters as a “basket of deplorables.”
Bannon had also lauded the use of cryptocurrencies in assisting the European anti-establishment movement during a March lecture in Zurich.
Bannon’s current interest in cryptocurrency addresses the possibility of countries creating their own cryptocurrencies based on their national wealth, bringing up the example of an Italian digital currency backed by the country’s marble deposits:
“It was pretty obvious to me that unless you got somehow control over your currency, all these political movements were going to be beholden to who controlled the currency.”
Bannon also believes that crypto can give power to citizens that central banks took away by “debas[ing] your currency” and making citizens “slaves to debt”:
“Control of the currency is control of everything […] It’s disruptive populism. It takes control back from central authorities. It’s revolutionary.”