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Peter Thiel: Bitcoin Could Be 'Chinese Financial Weapon'

DATE POSTED:April 7, 2021

PayPal co-founder and venture capitalist Peter Thiel, speaking at a virtual event for the conservative Nixon Seminar on Wednesday, opined on whether China is poised to win a financial arms raise with the United States.

The weapon Thiel says China is using? Bitcoin.

"Even though 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 U.S., where it threatens fiat money, but it especially threatens the U.S. dollar."

“Even though I'm a pro-crypto, pro-Bitcoin maximalist person, I do wonder whether if at this point Bitcoin should also be thought of in part as a Chinese financial weapon against the U.S.” says @Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel.

More on cryptocurrencies from The #NixonSeminar: pic.twitter.com/sIUQTQEWgr

— Richard Nixon Foundation (@nixonfoundation) April 7, 2021

The question Thiel was ostensibly answering wasn't about Bitcoin per se, but about China's plan to create a digital yuan. Moderator Hugh Hewitt wanted to know if the digital yuan is a "threat to the dollar and its dominance of world markets."

Thiel's view is that it isn't; he dismissed the coin, which would be issued by China'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 dominant 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.

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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.