Bitcoin BTC and cryptocurrencies have struggled under the weight of a U.S. government crackdown this year that could be about to get a whole lot worse.
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The bitcoin price has lost momentum after surging higher through the first half of 2023 (though a BlackRock insider has just primed the bitcoin and crypto market for a huge $17.7 trillion earthquake).
Now, Sam Altman, the chief executive of ChatGPT developer OpenAI and artificial intelligence (AI) pioneer, has warned the U.S. government is waging "war" on crypto and wants to "control" bitcoin.
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"I'm disappointed that the U.S. government has done recently, but the war on crypto, which I think is a, like, we can't give this up, we're going to control [bitcoin and crypto] makes me quite sad about the country," Altman said during an appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast.
"I'm very worried about how far the surveillance state could go here," Altman said, referring to state control over money and adding he's "super against" central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).
U.S. lawmakers and regulators have discussed the possibility of creating a so-called digital dollar CBDC, but Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell has said such a technology remains many years away.
Fears over financial and monetary censorship have been stoked by Covid pandemic-associated lockdowns, exacerbating concerns some have that digital money will allow governments to control what people can buy.
Altman has attracted criticism from the bitcoin community over his involvement in the controversial Worldcoin WLD crypto project, aiming to create a database of people by scanning their eyes in return for Worldcoin's cryptocurrency WLD.
"I'm excited about bitcoin, too," Altman said. "I think this idea that we have a global currency that is outside of the control of any government is a super logical and important step on the tech tree." Rogan added that he sees bitcoin as having "the most likely possibility of becoming a universal viable currency."
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The U.S. government has been accused this year of orchestrating a crackdown on bitcoin, crypto and crypto companies, seeking to prevent them from accessing the traditional financial system in what's been branded "Operation Choke Point 2.0."
The original 2013 Operation Choke Point was a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to discourage banks from working with arms dealers, payday lenders, and other companies believed to be at a high risk for fraud and money laundering.
Last month, Alexander Grieve, head of government affairs at bitcoin and crypto-focused investment company Paradigm, warned a rumored White House executive order designed to limit the amount of computing power used for AI could have serious spill over into bitcoin and crypto, calling it "Operation Choke Point, but for computing power."