Britain’s new ‘pro-crypto’ Prime Minister slammed as ‘no friend of Bitcoin’
Rishi Sunak said embracing cryptocurrency and blockchain can improve lives. Yet his promotion of CBDCs has cast doubt on where his allegiances lie.
Twitter user @ODELL called out newly appointed U.K. Prime Minister (PM) Rishi Sunak as “no friend of Bitcoin,” adding that reports of his pro-crypto rhetoric are “misleading.”
The basis for @ODELL’s comments came from a video of Sunak talking about Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs,) which are generally viewed by the community as philosophically opposed to cryptocurrency principles such as censorship-resistance and decentralization.
This new british prime minister is no friend of bitcoin, the "news" accounts are misleading you for engagement.
He wants total control and surveillance of money. pic.twitter.com/h3TY7LN2y5
— ODELL (@ODELL) October 24, 2022
Sunak’s pro-crypto reputation
On Oct. 24, Sunak won the Conservative leadership contest after rival Penny Mordaunt failed to obtain the required 100 Member of Parliament nominations to advance to the next stage of the contest.
Much has been said about his appointment, including Sunak being the first non-white British PM, while others have pointed out that his privileged position means he is out of touch with ordinary people.
The former Goldman Sachs banker and his wife, Akshata Murty, fashion designer, and venture capitalist, are reported to be worth £730 million ($824.5 million).
During his failed leadership campaign against Liz Truss, Sunak told a studio audience that he supports cryptocurrency and the underlying blockchain technology as ways to improve lives through technology efficiencies.
He concluded his response by saying, as PM, “you better believe I want to see that come to fruition.”
Similarly, in another show of crypto-savvy during his campaign trail, Sunak said he prefers Bored Apes to CryptoPunks, and to avoid tribalistic backlash, he chose a “basket of cryptocurrency” rather than picking between Bitcoin and Ethereum,
The UK’s new PM prefers Bored Apes to CryptoPunks and prefers a basket of different coins (dabbles in shitcoins?)
(Clip from leadership race a couple months ago) pic.twitter.com/3FwMgAPA0s
— db (@tier10k) October 24, 2022
Governments exploring CBDCs
On October 14, 2021, during his time as U.K. Chancellor under Boris Johnson, the Treasury posted a video of Sunak discussing the concept of CBDCs.
As part of the launch of the G7’s Public Policy Principles, Sunak said global governments and central banks are examining how CBDCs could work in practice. He called this movement part of the “story of digital innovation.”
Given the scale of change needed to accommodate CBDCs, Sunak said that G7 countries are undergoing an exploratory phase and that no decision has been made on whether to press ahead with them.
“The decision on whether to launch a Central Bank Digital Currency is for each country to make, and no G7 jurisdiction has yet made that choice.”
Critics argue that CBDCs are no different from the current inflationary fiat system. What’s more, there are lingering doubts over financial snooping and the potential for “enemies of the state” to be cut from transacting at the press of a button.