Despite Declines, Cryptos Continue to Attract Polarizing Figures

If the cryptocurrency market has proven anything this past week, it’s that this market is not meant for the queasy. Bitcoin has wiped billions of dollars off its market cap in a few short days and the bear market could take out some altcoins along the way. Some have called into question the viability of the market. But for others, the market selloff only seems to have emboldened them, industry veterans and newcomers alike.

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Steve Bannon has had many roles, from Wall Street investment banker to media tycoon as the former executive chairman of Breitbart News. He’s perhaps best known for his brief tenure as a White House official under the current administration, but now he’s pursuing a new identity and it involves cryptocurrencies.

Bannon is a bitcoin bull, as evidenced by what The New York Times characterized as a “good stake” in the leading cryptocurrency. He told the Times of the decentralized world: “It’s disruptive populism. It takes control back from central authorities. It’s revolutionary.”

Indeed Bannon, a former member of the Tea Party, which was born out of a desire to challenge the norm, could fit right in alongside other corporate figures who have caught bitcoin fever, including the likes of John McAfee and Overstock.com’s Patrick Byrne, for instance.

His history as a former government official makes him kind of a hybrid in a decentralized market but he’s got innovative ideas, such as the development of asset-backed tokens for governments reflecting their resources, such as a marble-backed Italian coin, the Times described.

Bannon Baggage

But Bannon knows the baggage that his name carries with it, and as a result, don’t expect to see a Steve Bannon coin circulating in the market any time soon. Instead, he wants to take a more white-label approach where he’s engaged with certain blockchain projects — including both startups and international governments — but is not prominently featured as a backer or advisor.

Indeed, Bannon is a controversial figure who was ousted not only from the White House but also Breitbart News. But his desire to keep a low profile suggests he may be in it for the right reasons instead of just using cryptocurrencies as a platform, which some have accused McAfee of doing.

Bannon is also a loose cannon and could also drag politics into the cryptocurrency arena, as evidenced by his idea to create a “deplorable” token to represent the supporters of his former boss whose political opponent attempted to ostracize.

And while there may not be a Bannon coin, that doesn’t mean he won’t do an initial coin offering (ICO) to raise funds for a blockchain startup. These days Bannon is at the helm of a Connecticut-based financial planning firm that bears his name and targets wealthy investors. He’s in discussions with the institutional side of the market, including hedge funds, which suggests that he is looking to integrate cryptocurrencies into his financial planning for the mainstream, if he hasn’t already.

ICO Market on Fire

Incidentally, the ICO market is red hot in 2018 and seems to be paying no attention to the struggles of its more established peers. ICOs have raised a combined $5.4 billion year-to-date, $219 million of which was raised in June alone. And there are a couple of blockbuster deals in the works as well that could bolster the tally even further.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Author:
Gerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.