Peter Thiel is “pro-crypto” and “pro-Bitcoin maximalist,” but he also thinks the cryptocurrency could undermine America.
Thiel, the venture capitalist and conservative political donor, urged the U.S. government on Tuesday to consider tougher rules on cryptocurrencies. The statements seemed to signify a change of heart for Thiel, who is a major investor in virtual currency companies and in cryptocurrencies themselves.
“I wonder whether Bitcoin should also be considered at this point [of] partly as a Chinese financial weapon against the US, ”said Thiel during a performance at a virtual event for members of the Richard Nixon Foundation. “It threatens fiat money, but it especially threatens the US dollar.” He added: “[If] China’s long Bitcoin, perhaps from a geopolitical perspective, the US should be asking some more difficult questions about exactly how that works. “
Thiel was joined by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien. The conversation between Thiel, who has regularly criticized US companies doing business with Beijing, and two ragged former members of the Trump administration, has largely focused on US-China relations. It was moderated by Hugh Hewitt, the talk radio host and chief executive of the Nixon Foundation. Forbes has previously reported some details of the event.
During the conversation, Thiel addressed previous criticisms of Google from Alphabet Inc., which he accused of violating US interests in a 2019 speechOn Tuesday, he added that he had urged employees of the company’s artificial intelligence division to question whether their technology was being used in China’s Xinjiang region, where the US says the country has detained ethnic Uyghurs in internment camps, some of which are US. officials have said amounts. genocide. The answer, Thiel said, was, “Well, we don’t really know – and don’t ask questions.” Thiel continued: “You have this almost magical thought that by pretending that everything is okay, you start a conversation like that.” China has denied the mistreatment of ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang, and Google has said it is not working with the Chinese military.
Thiel, who dramatically left Silicon Valley in 2018 and complained that it had become a “one-party state”, did not limit himself to criticizing Google. He suggested that US control of US technology companies would also include Apple Inc. should include, noting that the company makes most of its devices in China, where labor standards are more lenient than in the US and Europe. “Apple is probably the one [tech company] that is a real structural problem ”for US interests, he said. “Apple has real synergies with China.”
Thiel also suggested that the US follow India by banning TikTok, the social app from Chinese company ByteDance Ltd., which he called “ this kind of incredible exfiltration of data on people. ” Thiel noted that if it were banned, TikTok would likely be replaced by similar apps, as happened in India“I don’t think it was a huge, huge loss,” in India, he said.
The TikTok comments tie in with the posts from Facebook Inc., where Thiel is on the board of directors. Facebook has portrayed TikTok as a threat to American values. But Thiel also criticized Facebook itself for cherishing what he called “awake politics,” noting that the company had refused to take a firm stand against protests in Hong Kong last year. “There were more employees at Facebook who were born in China than in Hong Kong,” he said. And the Chinese citizens actually said that, you know, it was just Western arrogance, and [the company] shouldn’t take the side of Hong Kong … And the rest of the employees at Facebook more or less stayed out. ”
Thiel also criticized Facebook – along with other tech companies – for ‘de-platforming President Trump,’ a reference to the company’s decision to ban President Donald Trump for instigating the storming of the Capitol on January 6. “There has been outright censorship,” said Thiel. “And when you do it with the President of the United States, it feels like you’ve really crossed some sort of Rubicon.”
The performance with Pompeo could have repercussions for the 2024 presidential race. The former secretary of state is widely seen as a possible candidate for the Republican nomination – and Thiel has indicated his willingness to support figures close to Trump. He was a major financier of Trump in 2016, recently donating $ 10 million to a PAC in support of the Senate’s potential nomination of JD Vance, an author and conservative political figure who previously worked at a Thiel-backed venture capital fund.
Updates party with context and adds video.