US blockchain

RFK Jr.’s US ‘budget on blockchain’ plan will only work on the right blockchain

Independent U.S. presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wants to use blockchain technology to give American voters a greater capacity to monitor the federal government’s spending habits.

On April 21, Kennedy made a campaign pitstop in Michigan at which he pledged to bring a new level of transparency to government spending. “I’m going to put the entire U.S. budget on blockchain so that any American—every American—can look at every budget item in the entire budget, anytime they want, 24 hours a day.”

Kennedy went on to reference an infamous historical example of bloated Department of Defense (DOD) spending by noting that “we’re gonna have 300 million eyeballs on our budget, and if somebody is spending $16,000 for a toilet seat, everybody’s gonna know about it.”

While there’s nothing preventing the federal government from publishing the entire budget via other publicly accessible digital means, blockchain’s immutable nature would prevent them from trying to fudge potentially embarrassing individual line items after the fact.

Kennedy is by far the 2024 presidential race’s most blockchain-friendly candidate, welcoming donations in BTC and suggesting he’d use digital assets as a reserve for the U.S. dollar. Kennedy has also vowed to end capital gains taxes on digital asset sales, reject classification of tokens as securities and promised that his overall ‘crypto’ policies would “allow only the narrowest controls that are necessary to prevent money laundering.”

Kennedy’s advocacy has predominantly focused on BTC, but he appeared at the ETHDenver24 confab in March, where he was interviewed by Custodia Bank CEO Caitlin Long. Kennedy’s words were occasionally drowned out by protestors in the audience but he did earn loud applause after he promised to “buy some ETH after I leave this place.”

However, Kennedy would do well to reconsider his likely choice of networks for immutably inscribing the budget. The BTC chain, for instance, recently saw transaction fees surge to an average of $127 for low-priority transactions, with high-priority transactions topping $173.

While BTC fees have come down somewhat since this surge, a candidate pledging to act as a stalwart guardian of the public purse should avoid unnecessarily high expenditures while acting on the public’s behalf. Ethereum has suffered from similarly bloated fee structures in the past and will almost certainly continue to do so in the future.

In stark contrast, the BSV Blockchain boasts fees measured in fractions of a cent. That’s only possible due to BSV’s commitment to scaling far beyond what any other blockchain is currently doing or will be able to deliver in the future. Moreover, BSV is infinitely more reliable than blockchains such as Solana, which suffered from repeated network outages long before it became the new go-to chain for creating utility-free memecoins.

There’s also the decidedly non-trivial possibility that the mercurial BTC Core developers might choose to radically revise BTC’s protocol (again), which might eliminate future access to data documents of the size that the budget would occupy. This scenario would be an impossibility on BSV, which has a locked protocol that can trace its origins all the way back to Bitcoin’s Genesis block.

At his ETHDenver24 appearance, Kennedy earned applause with his pledge to make America “the hub of cryptocurrency and blockchain and stablecoin innovation for the world.” With respect, there’s only one network on which such efforts are underway—and are actually possible—and that’s BSV.

Regardless of where Kennedy focuses his data-storage efforts, his comments reflect an evolving school of thought regarding how governments process information in an era of deep mistrust. How governments and enterprises apply blockchain technology is the focus of the upcoming London Blockchain Conference, which gets underway on May 21 at Excel London.

The governance track gets underway on May 22, mixing government officials, regulators, policymakers and industry leaders in what promises to be lively and informative discussions on how best to integrate blockchain technology, including into public sector operations.

Longshot candidacy troubles frontrunners

Regardless of the feasibility of Kennedy’s budget plans, his digital asset advocacy has led to support from many in the blockchain community, including an ‘A’ rating from the Stand With Crypto advocacy group funded by the Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) exchange. By comparison, former President Donald Trump rates only a ‘B’ while incumbent Joe Biden
gets a ‘D’ grade.

Some have voiced suspicions that Kennedy is a potential Trojan horse for the introduction of a U.S. central bank digital currency (CBDC). Kennedy has rejected these allegations, pointing to his repeated condemnation of CBDCs as “instruments of control and oppression” that are “certain to be abused” by future administrations.

In March, Kennedy told Axios that he knows “how to stop [CBDC introduction] in this country,” suggesting he would use a combination of Presidential executive orders and anti-CBDC legislation. He claimed to be the only major public figure willing to explain to the American public “how inconsistent central bank digital currencies are with our values and how threatening they are to our constitutional rights.”

Trump has also expressed opposition to CBDCs while appearing to hedge his bets on the merits of tokens such as BTC. Trump previously voiced concerns regarding BTC potentially competing with the U.S. dollar but told CNBC in March that digital assets had “taken on a life” of their own, and he wasn’t sure that “I’d want to take [crypto] away at this point.”

In March, an online poll of digital currency owners found that Trump (48%) was the clear favorite to win in November, nine points ahead of Biden. However, 13% were on the fence, and many of these undecideds might choose to throw their support behind Kennedy.

Kennedy and his running mate, Nicole Shanahan, recently secured access in Michigan to November’s ballot via the Natural Law Party ticket. Michigan is a key battleground state that any candidate needs to win in order to serve as the future occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Kennedy’s ballot presence in Michigan and a handful of other states is alarming some Trump supporters, many of whom suspect Kennedy might bleed Donald’s support in states where the margins of victory have historically been razor-thin.

When Kennedy first threw his hat into the presidential ring as an independent, the theory was that the bulk of his support would come at Biden’s expense. But a handful of recent polls are casting doubt on those assumptions, to the point that even Trump is now expressing concern.

On April 22, Trump told a radio audience that, while some people remain convinced Kennedy’s campaign is hurting Biden, “I’m not sure that that’s true, and I think he probably hurts [us] both.”

Democrats are doing their best to ensure voters make the Kennedy-Trump connection, including running billboards depicting Kennedy in a red Make America Great Again hat. Trump’s team isn’t standing idly by, with some campaign officials calling Kennedy “one of the most LIBERAL and radical environmentalists in the country.”

For his part, Kennedy insists he’s in it to win it, not to play spoiler for either candidate. Regardless, it gives single-issue ‘crypto’ voters something to ponder before they step into that voting booth, lest their vote help elect the greater of two evils.

Want to learn more about the fundamentals of blockchain technology? Check out the BSV Blockchain Resources page where you can download useful ebooks—from unleashing the value of extreme scale data to understanding the potential of the Metaverse, among the many topics—for free.

Watch: Blockchain as a valuable tool for law enforcement

YouTube video

New to blockchain? Check out CoinGeek’s Blockchain for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about blockchain technology.