Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon has been meeting with cryptocurrency investors and hedge funds recently after getting fired from the job ten months ago. The former Breitbart News executive chairman is in talks with them about launching an initial coin offering through his investment firm Bannon & Company.
Bannon confirmed to The New York Times in an interview published today that he has a “good stake” in bitcoin. “Control of the currency is control of everything,” he said. From Bannon’s viewpoint, cryptocurrencies could help him regain power and influence, although he avoided talking about returning to politics.
Bannon has made his position on cryptocurrency clear before. He spoke of creating a possible “deplorables coin“ at Harvard in a small event this spring, which would be a coin presumably for Trump supporters. In the interview published today, Bannon also expressed interest in countries that launch their own digital coins backed by national wealth, such as an Italian coin backed by local marble deposits. While the Italian coin doesn’t exist yet, other countries like Venezuela, or a sovereign state like the Marshall Islands, have launched their own domestic currencies before.
One of the hedge fund managers he met with, Timothy Lewis, who co-founded a fund that invests in cryptocurrency, told the Times that Bannon seemed to have “done his homework” and was well-informed about how blockchain technology works. Lewis said he talked to Bannon about initial coin offering regulations and recent ICOs that had successfully raised money.
Initial coin offerings are under the heaviest of regulatory scrutiny, compared to regular cryptocurrency transactions or cryptocurrency mining. The SEC has sent out subpoenas for companies launching their own offerings, and chairman Jay Clayton has declared most initial coin offerings unregistered and illegal. Still, some ICOs have recently found success, such as the secure messaging app Telegram, which raised $1.7 billion from two presales, although it later canceled going public.