Bitcoiners strike back at Warren

They just had some fun at the expense of one of crypto’s fiercest antagonists in Congress. But more substantive politicking may be coming as well.

Peter A. McKay
3 min readFeb 18, 2024
Photo by Bernie Thomas via Wikimedia Commons

Elizabeth Warren had a rough week on multiple bitcoin-related fronts.

On Thursday, we learned that some anonymous prankster finagled the senior U.S. senator from Massachusetts into signing paperwork to fly a flag over the U.S. capitol in honor of bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin Magazine broke the story of the flag dedication, albeit with way too much credulity (or perhaps sarcasm) that Warren, an ardent bitcoin foe, had experienced some surprising change of heart.

Then CoinDesk sussed out what really happened. In a commentary for the site, Daniel Kuhn writes:

If you ever wanted confirmation that politicians do not always read the documents they sign, look no further than Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Recently, an anonymous Bitcoiner pranked the Senator from Massachusetts, who has built a brand around supposedly helping the financially unprivileged, by getting her to sign a document commemorating Satoshi Nakamoto.

The U.S. government, apparently, runs a “flag program” via the Architect of the Capitol, which flies commemorative flags over the Capitol building in Washington D.C. As the government site notes: members of Congress are able to nominate individuals or groups deserving of this special acknowledgement.

Over 100,000 flag requests are fulfilled each year, a number that suggests not everything is always properly vetted.

Probably even more concerning for Warren, the Boston Globe reports that pro-bitcoin attorney John Deaton is mulling a run for her senate seat as a Republican in November.

Politico’s Lisa Kashinsky and Jasper Goodman point out that Deaton would be a long shot to beat Warren, an incumbent Democrat running for re-election in a pretty blue state. But they also note:

Deaton is weighing entering the race as the cryptocurrency industry is ramping up an aggressive effort to influence the 2024 elections. An industry-backed super PAC that has more than $80 million in the bank made its first major splash this week with a multimillion-dollar ad buy attacking Democrat Katie Porter, a Warren protégé, in the California Senate primary.

In other words, Deaton would be an underdog, yes. But a well-funded one.

Intriguingly, that pattern could play out in other races as well as this election year plays out in the U.S.

Think about it: The crypto industry is collectively pretty angry right now at Washington’s recent regulatory crckdown based mostly on decades-old laws written for the stock market. Meanwhile, Congress has been too paralyzed to write updated laws that many insiders would actually welcome for the sake of clarity. And these folks’ pocketbooks are flush right now thanks to a roaring rally in token prices to start 2024.

That could be just the formula for a new use case for digital money to emerge this year — political payback.

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Peter A. McKay

Storyteller, thought leader, and marketer focused on blockchain/web3. I publish #w3w, a newsletter about decentralization. Ex-reporter for the Wall St Journal.