Bitcoin critic Mark Cuban joins Trump’s advisory team
Billionaire investor and blockchain proponent Mark Cuban has been appointed as an advisor to President Trump.
The US President announced on Tuesday that he will consult with over 50 prominent executives and leaders, who will form an advisory panel to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
Notably, the panel, dubbed the Great American Economic Revival Industry Group, includes those—such as Cuban and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice—who have been openly critical of Trump. With the President finally willing to listen to dissenting voices such as Cuban’s, what could that mean for industries and initiatives the latter supports?
“I’m ready to help my country in any way I can,’’ said Cuban, when his appointment was announced.
Cuban is willing to challenge Trump
Trump has long-standing relationships with all of those in the new cabinet.
Cuban is one the wealthiest men in America, and worth some $4 billion. He owns NBA team Dallas Mavericks and, as an investor on reality TV show SharkTank, he’s a household name.
Did you know?
Cuban holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest purchase ever conducted over the internet. He bought a Gulfstream V business jet for $40 million in October 1999.
“Mark Cuban is a talented and successful entrepreneur with unsurpassed charisma,” Matthew Graham, CEO of investment firm Sino Global Capital told Decrypt. “With Trump’s unpredictable nature, it could help around the margins to have Cuban’s pro-blockchain views a step closer to the decision makers.”
Cuban is pro-blockchain but not pro-Bitcoin
In 2018, Cuban confirmed that the Mavericks would accept Bitcoin and Ethereum as payment for tickets in the 2018-2019 season.
But he’s no Bitcoin fan. He famously called the cryptocurrency a bubble in the summer of 2017. He then went on to invest later that same year, according to an interview in Vanity Fair. And he backed several startups which launched initial coin offerings (ICO’s). Then—in another turnaround—he disposed of all his Bitcoin.
In an interview with Wired in September, 2019, Cuban said that Bitcoin has “no intrinsic value,” and that he’d rather collect bananas and baseball cards. He also said that crypto’s too complex to go mainstream.
But he’s continued to expand his blockchain interests.
“When people say there’s no intrinsic value to crypto, they don’t really look at the value of blockchain,” he said in an interview last month. “Blockchain in general does have at least a basic intrinsic value,” but “not as high as what crypto trades for.”
Altruistic, mission-driven, but no soft touch
So Cuban won’t be banging the drum for crypto in his new appointment, and Graham—for one—believes this may not be the time to propose blockchain solutions.
“In a time of crisis it’s hard to see a few lone wolf pro-blockchain voices getting much traction when Trump is surrounded by entrenched interests,” he said.
What’s more likely is that the charismatic Cuban will use his new platform to gain traction for the broader agenda he supports. He recently called the government to account for its lack of action on business loans, and slammed the media for failing to cover data on Personal Protective Equipment.
“The WH Press Conf tonight FINALLY presents REAL DATA on the distribution of PPE and ALL OF YOU cut away!” he tweeted.
His contemporaries, such as fellow Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcora commend him on his deep understanding of technology, and astute judgement of character.
Despite his investments in mission-driven startups—such as Luminaid, which provides lighting to disaster areas, and Mahmee, a maternal healthcare tech company—he’s no soft-touch. Recently, he said that in order to deal with the coronavirus crisis, capitalism needs to get smarter; he encouraged the government to adopt a hard line for corporations looking for bailouts, and offered his services.
“We’re in a situation now where we can’t look back.” He said in an episode of The Pomp Podcast published today. “We’ve got this amazing reset that’s horrific in some ways but it’s an opportunity in other ways, and so businesses have to ask themselves what they’re going do when we go back to work.”
Some of the changes he highlighted were better products and services, a higher minimum wage, a tax for cloud computing, and innovations in robotics, precision medicine and technologies which accelerate authentication.
He also believes that the V-shaped economic recovery Trump is anticipating won’t materialize, but he’s confident that the economy will “come back stronger than ever,” given time.
In 2017, Trump tweeted that Cuban wasn’t smart enough to run for President.
But Cuban is clearly in the President’s sights.