Biden’s Tech Aid and Former Bitcoin Critic Owns at Least $1M in BTC
It has been recently revealed that Tim Wu, a technology and antitrust advisor and Special Assistant for the Biden Administration, owns between $1 million-to-$5 million in Bitcoin and over $100,000 in Filecoin. This is fascinating as Wu has been an outspoken critic of Bitcoin and crypto from as early as 2017, although this recent news gives us a greater insight into his views on the matter.
Tim Wu’s Stance on Bitcoin
Tim Wu has been critical of Bitcoin in the past. In late 2017, at the height of Bitcoin’s previous bull run, he published an article calling it “a bubble” and questioning whether it is “really worth anything at all?” However, Wu’s thoughts on Bitcoin are more complex than this suggests.
Within his 2017 article, Wu makes a compelling argument that the rise of Bitcoin (and cryptocurrency as a whole) is a sign that humanity has become profoundly distrusting of human-based organizations. He writes that:
“Bitcoin’s rise may reflect, for better or worse, a monumental transfer of social trust: away from human institutions backed by government and to systems reliant on well-tested computer code. It is a trend that transcends finance: In our fear of human error, we are putting an increasingly deep faith in technology.”
Tim Wu has captured a deeply significant aspect of the blockchain industry. Crypto supporters are often skeptical of human-controlled, centralized, power. As he points out in the article, Bitcoin was created in 2009, just one year after one of the most devastating financial crises to take place in modern history.
Bitcoin and crypto mark a worldwide shift in perspectives, where people are ideologically moving away from hierarchical financial structures and looking towards decentralized and permissionless tools. This sentiment is also echoed by the fact that Ethereum managed to reach a $400B market cap 30 years faster than Apple (one of the big worldwide tech giants).
From analyzing Wu’s article, he appears to be aligned with Bitcoin on a technical and conceptual level, but at the time he was skeptical of its price valuation. Bear in mind that when he wrote this piece, it was during a time when Bitcoin had doubled in price in the space just two months.
Trusts, Monopolies, and Blockchains
It is worth emphasizing that Tim Wu is an antitrust and competition law specialist. In his book, The Master Switch, Wu explores the ruthlessness of internet monopolies. This is especially relevant considering his investment in Filecoin, a coin focused on decentralized data storage. Statistics from 2020 show that Amazon, Microsoft (Azure), and Google collectively own 61% of the cloud storage market.
The majority of online data is held by some of the largest internet corporations the world has ever seen. Considering Tim Wu’s disdain for these types of monopolies, it makes perfect sense that he would invest in blockchain technology, even if he is worried about the possibility of financial bubbles.
Decentralized technology is disrupting the world of finance in a huge way, with DeFi now estimated to have over 2 million users, leaving financial regulators lost as to how they should react. As blockchain technology builds more traction, other industries will get shaken up, too, such as cloud storage. Since his induction into the White House, people have speculated that Wu would crackdown on big tech, and the news of his crypto investments seem to suggest this is likely.
However, a White House official has noted that Wu has been “recused from any particular matters involving bitcoin or cryptocurrency”, so we cannot expect any direct policy changes from him regarding this tech. Nevertheless, antitrust policies are generally positive for cryptocurrency anyway, as monopolies are highly centralized, making them an ideological opponent to most blockchain projects.
What do you make of Tim Wu’s investments? Let us know in the comments!