Peter Thiel: Bitcoin Could Be ‘Chinese Financial Weapon’

In brief

  • Peter Thiel co-founded PayPal.
  • He labels himself “pro-Bitcoin.”
  • He thinks China is strategically approaching Bitcoin.

Speaking at a virtual event for the conservative Nixon Seminar, PayPal co-founder and venture capitalist Peter Thiel opined openly on whether China is set to win a financial arms raise with the US.

The weapon? Bitcoin.

“I’m sort of a pro-crypto, pro-Bitcoin maximalist,” Thiel said. “I do wonder if at this point Bitcoin should also be thought of in part as a Chinese financial weapon against the US. It threatens fiat money but it especially threatens the US dollar.”

The question Thiel was ostensibly answering wasn’t about Bitcoin per se, but about China’s plan to create a digital yuan. Was this a “threat to the dollar and its dominance of world markets?” moderator Hugh Hewitt wanted to know.

Thiel’s view is that it isn’t; he dismissed the coin, which would be issued by the country’s central bank, as “some sort of a totalitarian measuring device.”

The real concern, Thiel said, is Bitcoin because it’s more likely to serve as a functional reserve currency. The less pervasive the dollar is, the less effected it is by American monetary and foreign policy.

“If China’s long Bitcoin, then perhaps from a geopolitical perspective the U.S. should be asking some tougher questions about exactly how that works,” he said.

The seminar, titled “Big Tech and China: What Do We Need from Silicon Valley?,” also included former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien.

Pompeo agreed that a digital yuan “has a huge impact for [China’s] surveillance capacity,” though he seemed to assert that such a coin itself would also allow it to make cross-border transactions that could skirt US sanctions: “They want to make sure that when Secretary Pompeo issues sanctions against the Iranian leadership, that there is a way to purchase Iranian oil.”

Thiel has invested in multiple crypto ventures including Bitcoin mining company Layer1 Technologies and blockchain development platform Alchemy.


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