Bitcoin enthusiasts are again pondering on the possibility of Trump administration issuing an “executive order” to ban bitcoin. This comes as the United States prepares to ban flavored e-cigarette citing health concerns. Bitcoin maximalist and Managing Partner and Head of Research at Fundstrat, Tom Lee said that this sudden ban on e-cigarettes paints a clear picture of how Trump could easily ban bitcoin next.
As per a statement published on Wednesday, the US administration and the Food and Drug (FDA) Administration are both planning on getting rid of flavored e-cigarettes from the US market. In the statement, the US Health Secretary Alex Azar noted:
“The Trump Administration is making it clear that we intend to clear the market of flavored e-cigarettes to reverse the deeply concerning epidemic of youth e-cigarette use that is impacting children, families, schools and communities.”
For at least 30 days, fruity flavors and also menthol and mint e-cigarettes will be unavailable until health concerns are addressed. Additionally, Juul Labs Inc., which dominates this market, has received a warning letter from FDA after selling the e-cigarettes to children claiming they were “totally safe”.
The decision to ban these flavored cigarettes was arrived at after several cases of vaping-related deaths were reported in teens. According to reports, at least six deaths have been witnessed in the US so far and 450 (mostly teens) reported cases of lung disease supposedly linked to e-cigarettes.
Nothing Is Improbable For Current US Administration: Tom Lee
Though completely unrelated to cryptocurrency, Tom Lee expressed concerns that after banning e-cigarettes, Trump might laser in on bitcoin. He noted:
“This is un-related but shows White House can issue an ‘executive order’ banning anything. And could even ban bitcoin.”
He went on to say that we can’t rule out a ban on bitcoin because with the US, nothing is impossible.
“Not expecting it. But with the current White House, there is “nothing out of bounds nor out of reach.”
In case you’re late to the party, the president of the most powerful nation in the world, Donald John Trump isn’t a fan of bitcoin. The very outspoken president tweeted about bitcoin back in July, saying that he doesn’t like bitcoin because its value is highly volatile and based on thin air. At that particular time, bitcoin was trading at the $10,500 zone.
While these comments did not bring forth any policy changes for bitcoin, they aroused fear in investors and thereafter garnered a lot of support from top government officials like the Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin who termed bitcoin as a “national security issue”. Tom Lee’s concerns about a ban on bitcoin in the future are thus not unfounded. However, it remains unclear exactly how the US government would succeed in banning a decentralized digital asset such as bitcoin.
What would be the price of one bitcoin when the US government imposes a ban on it? You may well ask. Lee agrees with one Twitter user who suggests Trump would ban bitcoin if it happened to hit $100,000 in the near-term.
US Government Stance On Bitcoin Remains Unclear
The question of where bitcoin stands with the US regulators is probably the hottest topic among crypto enthusiasts. Notably, in 2018, William Heinman, head of the division of Corporation Finance at SEC affirmed that bitcoin and Ethereum were not securities due to their decentralized nature, and could therefore not be in the crosshairs of the SEC.
On the contrary, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sent letters to cryptocurrency holders earlier this year, reminding them to pay relevant taxes from their crypto trades. According to the IRS compliance campaign for virtual currencies in 2018, virtual currencies like bitcoin are to be taxed like property. In short, to the IRS, bitcoin is viewed as a virtual currency and as a property that must be taxed.
Evidently, the definition of bitcoin, as well as regulatory clarifications by the US government, is very much a grey area at the moment. Even so, Tom Lee believes “nothing is out of reach” for the current White House.