Formal presidential candidate Andrew Yang has announced his candidacy for the upcoming New York City mayoral election.
However, listening to his interviews and investigating his stance on virtual currencies the real question is whether he is truly looking to make Bitcoin the centre of New York’s cryptocurrency positioning or if he is merely using the coin’s ability to grab media attention to boost his platform.
No Such Thing As Bad Press
Yang openly stated his desire to see New York City become a blockchain technology centre saying on Twitter:
“As mayor of NYC - the world’s financial capital - I would invest in making the city a hub for BTC and other cryptocurrencies.”
While Bitcoin supporters have taken hold of this and run with the narrative that Yang is a BTC evangelist it has also caused a stir among those who are concerned about the virtual currency’s instability and potentially harmful impact if introduced as part of a local economy.
Yang and his campaign committee would have known that taking such a firm stance would cause division – and given that he is an active Twitter user said the division would result in the most important currency of all for a political candidate, airtime.
Since the above announcement, Yang’s Twitter account generates an ongoing stream of comments and he has become a central figure around the synergies between government regulation and decentralised currencies, appearing on the likes of Bloomberg to share his opinions.
He Says Bitcoin but Means Stablecoin
While Yang makes liberal reference to the king of all decentralised cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, he is quick to err on the side of stablecoin's when pressed for details. According to the interviews he has given his vision for a daily use virtual coin is one that is stable and fully regulated – this is a far cry from Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision for his crypto-technology.
While stablecoin is built on the same blockchain technology as decentralised coins, thereby offering the same speed and security benefits, it is linked to a “stable asset or commodity” such as the US dollar or gold allowing it to be less volatile.
This stability does make it a far more ideal option for daily transactional use but does mean that at the end of the day it is nothing more than a government-controlled digital copy of your local fiat currency.
Decentralisation Is Not on Yang’s Agenda
When it comes to controversial stances and especially globally impactful new technologies there will always be an ebb and flow between supporters and naysayers. While the development of blockchain currencies and the value of Bitcoin are undeniable it is important considering Yang’s actual stance on decentralisation before picking a side.
During a recent interview Bloomberg’s Joe Weisenthal as Yang a two direct question:
- “Do you support the right of people to move into cryptocurrencies and other forms of money that are not as easily tracked by centralised authorities?”
- “Do you support monetary freedom for people who want to move their money away from fiat currencies, get their money out of the banking system and into cryptocurrencies?”
Yang for his part gave vapid, non-committal responses, however, the comments he made should make supporters of financial freedom and decentralisation nervous of voting him into the mayoral seat.
In short, his vague response included the following concerning highlights.:
- Refusal to comment on whether he supports moving out of fiat banking systems.
- Support for formalised government regulation of cryptocurrencies at a Federal level.
- Open support for blockchain technology but refusal to address decentralisation or existing banking systems.
While Andrew Yang certainly is saying the right things to garner the support of crypto-fans and get him interviews on major networks the jury is still out on whether the type of virtual currency economy he envisions is one that believers in decentralisation and economic freedom are hoping for.