Back in 2009, Bitcoin, the world’s very first digital currency, officially launched. Since that time, as cryptocurrency has continued to gain popularity, we have seen a number of high-profile figures make headlines in the space.
Reality stars, pro athletes, and just about every other type of celeb one can think of, have become crypto newsmakers over the years. However, these days, it’s an extremely well-known politician that has everyone in the cryptocurrency universe talking.
Former President Bill Clinton Speaks at Ripple’s Swell Conference
On October 1st, none other than former U.S. President Bill Clinton spoke at Ripple’s annual Swell conference.
As some folks may recall, this isn’t the first time 42nd President has been associated with digital tender. Back in 2016, the ex-commander-in-chief accepted his very first Bitcoin from a tech entrepreneur named Matthew Roszak.
These days, Clinton is being linked to a different digital asset – Ripple (XRP).
For those unfamiliar, Ripple is real-time gross settlement systems (RTGS), currency exchange and remittance network. The Ripple protocol uses a token (XRP) to allow almost instant and direct transfer of money between two parties.
Every year, the folks behind this relatively new protocol hold an event in San Fransico called Ripple Swell. According to their website, “Swell, hosted by Ripple, connects the world’s leading experts on policy, payments, and technology for the most provocative dialogue in global payments today.”
Last year’s Swell headliner was Dr. Ben Bernanke, who was Chair of the Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2014. This year, Ripple decided to bring in an even bigger name to main event the gathering – Bill Clinton.
What did Bill Have to Say?
His speech covered a wide array of topics including things like his new novel and the blockbuster film “Black Panther.” Still, Clinton offered the blockchain and cryptocurrency enthusiasts, who were attending the event, some memorable quotes. “This whole blockchain deal has the potential it does only because it is applicable across national borders [and] income groups. The permutations and possibilities are staggeringly great.”
Clinton also advised the industry as a whole should proceed with caution.“The more the benefits materialize, the more you have to be careful about it.”
He added,“You don’t want consumer fraud, you don’t want to finance criminal enterprises, and you certainly don’t want to make it easier to pull off severe attacks by terrorists. That’s the challenge of each new technology.”
The Former President Didn’t Speak For Free
It should be noted; the former President didn’t make this appearance out of the kindness of his heart. Clinton was paid a hefty sum for speaking at Swell 2018. While the exact amount isn’t known, some reports suggest that “The Big Dog” received somewhere in the neighborhood of $500,000 for his speech.
Given that there was compensation involved, it’s hard to know for certain if Bill Clinton is an avid Ripple and/or blockchain supporter – or if he just happened to stumble upon an easy payday.
However, whether or not Clinton is legitimately interested in the technology isn’t all that relevant.
Because either way, in the end, having a former President of the United States attend a crypto-related event, even when paid to do so, demonstrates how far Ripple and the digital currency community have come in a very short time.