Robert Kennedy Jr. takes the stage at Bitcoin 2023 in his first appearance as a candidate

By Landon Manning

In his first public appearance since announcing his candidacy for the 2024 US presidential election, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. gave a keynote speech at the Bitcoin 2023 conference in Miami, where he declared fierce support for Bitcoin.

Son of famed Attorney General and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, or “Bobby” Kennedy, and nephew of former President John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy Jr. has been in the limelight for much of his adult life. An environmental lawyer by trade, Kennedy never played a prominent role in the federal government, but his practice and the nonprofits he founded demonstrated a commitment from all a lifetime of environmentalism. Moreover, he has long been critical of US foreign intervention, especially on issues such as the use of torture during the war in Iraq or the military presence in Syria. His skepticism of COVID-19 vaccines and policies featured prominently in most of the news stories around his April 2023 campaign announcement.

As he described to the public at Bitcoin 2023, the controversial 2022 Canadian trucker protests, during which the government took the dramatic step of freezing bank accounts linked to the protest, forcing some protesters to turn to bitcoin as an alternative, were what were first introduced. Kennedy to the potential of Bitcoin.

“None of these legitimate and peaceful protesters broke the law,” he said. “But suddenly they found they couldn’t access their money, their bank accounts to pay their mortgages or feed their families.”

He added that this dramatic event made him “realize for the first time how important free money is as much as free speech”, and since then he has been interested in Bitcoin.

Kennedy made outspoken support for bitcoin a mainstay of his candidacy, saying on stage, “As president, I will ensure that your right to own and use bitcoin is inviolable. I am an outspoken and lifelong defender of civil liberties, and Bitcoin is both an exercise and a guarantee of those liberties.

He stressed the importance for users to self-custody their assets without resorting to an exchange or other intermediaries, and he said he would support the United States as a center of Bitcoin by fighting against the pervasive mining regulations. He also touched on the possible amnesty of Ross Ulbricht, a cause celeb among Bitcoiners.

Kennedy’s candidacy is somewhat uncertain at this point, even though polls put him in second place behind President Biden. Although most Americans, and even most Democrats, don’t want 80-year-old Joe Biden to run for office, many Democrats are willing to vote for him again if it came down to that.

Regardless of how the race goes, it’s very encouraging that Bitcoin will become such a popular talking point in yet another presidential election. It can only be good news that Bitcoin’s message will reach millions more homes as it becomes a household name.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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