Stephen Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, is planning to get involved in cryptocurrency, according to a story Thursday from the New York Times. Bannon has been holding meetings between his investment firm Bannon & Company and cryptocurrency investors and hedge funds. He claims to have a “good stake” in bitcoin and sees the technology as “revolutionary” in “tak[ing] control back from central authorities.”
Bannon is reportedly interested in initial coin offerings (ICO), which is the process by which new cryptocurrencies distribute coins to investors. Scammers have been known to run fake ICOs to siphon money away from gullible investors. Bannon’s firm may assist foreign countries looking to create their own cryptocurrencies backed by national resources. He also suggested creating a “deplorables coin” at a meeting with academics at Harvard University in the spring, referencing a remark by Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign calling some of Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables.” Bannon wouldn’t divulge many more details about his ventures to the Times, though, noting that his controversial reputation could undermine his fledgling projects.
Brock Pierce, a former child actor who had a role in The Mighty Ducks and has since then backed a number of cryptocurrency companies, reportedly introduced Bannon to the technology. The two first began working together when Pierce hired Bannon to serve as the vice chairman of his company, Internet Gaming Entertainment. Bannon claims that this is where he first met the young men that would later fill the ranks of the alt-right. Cryptocurrency is in fact a popular tool for alt-right figures who have a libertarian streak and want to receive donations without the assistance of payment authorities.
Bannon spent five years at Goldman Sachs working as an investment banker early on in his career. Since then, however, he has famously become a firebrand critic of big banks and corporations, painting them as enemies to working class Americans. Now, it seems, he sees cryptocurrency as a means to erode Wall Street’s influence and perhaps amass power. He told the Times, “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.”