Steve Bannon wants in on the cryptocurrency craze.
Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist and the former head of the far-right website Breitbart, has invested in bitcoin and is making plans to dive into the cryptocurrency markets according to a new report from the New York Times.
According to the Times’ Jeremy W. Peters and Nathaniel Popper, Bannon discussed plans with a group of academics at Harvard to launch a new cryptocurrency called “deplorables coin,” a reference a now-infamous comment form 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.
Bitcoin, the most widely-known cryptocurrency, soared to a price of nearly $20,000 a coin in December before shedding a large amount of its gains. As of Thursday, bitcoin was trading around $6,450 a coin and is down over 50% on a year-to-date basis.
Bannon has discussed various ways to get into cryptocurrencies through his investment firm Bannon & Company, said the Times, including helping countries create their own coins.
“It’s disruptive populism,” Bannon said. “It takes control back from central authorities. It’s revolutionary.”
The attraction of cryptocurrency, Bannon said, is its ability to get around the traditional banking system and cut out central banks that make people “slaves to debt.” While cryptocurrencies are growing in popularity among legitimate institutional investors, the decentralized nature of transactions using the technology are also harder to track, making the method popular with drug dealers and the far-right.
According to the Times, Bannon was introduced to idea by Brock Pierce, a former actor in the “Mighty Ducks” movies, who now runs various cryptocurrency endeavors. The pair first became involved in 2005 when Bannon came on to advise Pierce’s company, Internet Gaming Entertainment, which sold the currency used in the online game World Of Warcraft.
Since leaving the White House and getting attacked by Trump for his comments in Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury,” Bannon has traveled to Europe to meet with rising far-right populist leaders in countries like Hungary and Italy.
According to Bannon, cryptocurrencies offer burgeoning political movements economic freedom because it weans the groups off government-controlled currencies.
“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,” he said.