Home US Presidential Debate: Why wasn’t crypto discussed?

US Presidential Debate: Why wasn’t crypto discussed?


  • The first debate for the 2024 U.S. presidential election in Atlanta did not address cryptocurrency issues.
  • Moderators Jake Tapper and Dana Bash focused on the economy, abortion, immigration, and foreign policy.
  • The crypto industry seeks favorable legislation, with major players donating $50 million to support candidates.

The inaugural general debate for the 2024 U.S. presidential election, held Thursday in Atlanta, Georgia, did not address cryptocurrency issues, disappointing industry observers.

CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash moderated the 90-minute face-off between incumbent President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump. While the debate covered various topics including the economy, abortion, immigration, and foreign policy, it barely touched on technology policy and completely overlooked digital assets.

As pointed out in a CoinDesk report, this omission came despite crypto’s recent prominence in campaign discussions, particularly following Trump’s statements about regulation and his promise to commute Ross Ulbricht’s sentence. The Biden campaign has remained largely silent on crypto matters, though his administration recently expressed interest in collaborating with Congress on crypto legislation.

Economics not a focus

The debate’s economic segment was brief, with questions focusing on inflation, living costs, and national debt. Observers noted Biden’s subdued demeanor, attributed to a cold, while Trump appeared more animated but faced more scrutiny from fact-checkers.

The crypto industry continues to seek favorable legislation, repeating its substantial campaign spending from 2022. Major players like Coinbase, Ripple, and Andreessen Horowitz have each donated nearly $50 million to political action committees supporting crypto-friendly candidates.

These efforts have yielded some success in primary elections, with industry-backed PACs funding ads against candidates perceived as less favorable to crypto interests. During the debate, a prediction market on Polymarket gave Trump a 68% chance of winning the November election, compared to Biden’s 29%.

The absence of crypto discussion in this high-profile debate highlights the ongoing challenge for the industry to secure a place in mainstream political discourse, despite its growing economic and technological significance.

Crypto’s partisan nature

Cryptocurrency regulation has become a largely partisan issue in the United States, with Republicans being more favorable to the crypto industry than Democrats. Still, as the presidential race heats up Biden slightly changed course.

After vetoing a bipartisan-crypto move that sought to repeal the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Staff Accounting Bulletin 121 (SAB 121). Following that move, Biden’s campaign’s increased engagement with the crypto community and is rumored to be in talks to potentially accept cryptocurrency donations through Coinbase Commerce.

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The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Radek Zielinski
Tech Journalist

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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