Thiel suggested that the US should ban China’s ByteDance-owned TikTok akin to India. (Image: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

PayPal co-founder and one of Silicon Valley’s prominent venture capital investors Peter Thiel has warned that Bitcoin might serve as a ‘Chinese financial weapon’ that could pose a threat to the United States. During a virtual seminar held by the US-based non-profit organization Richard Nixon Foundation, Thiel said “Even though I’m a pro-crypto, pro-Bitcoin maximalist person, I do wonder whether if at this point Bitcoin should also be thought of in part as a Chinese financial weapon against the U.S where it threatens fiat money, but it especially threatens the US dollar and China wants to do things to weaken it.”

Thiel, who also co-founded software company Palantir Technologies and is a Facebook board member as well, added that if China has a long position on Bitcoin then the US should focus on understanding its stance from a geopolitical perspective. “It’s sort of China’s long bitcoin, and perhaps from a geopolitical perspective, the US should be asking some tougher questions about exactly how that works,” he said. Theil’s conversation during the seminar was largely focused on US and China relations that have been tumultuous in the past few years grabbing the spotlight in talks around trade, politics, military power, technology base, and more.

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Thiel suggested that the US should ban China’s ByteDance-owned TikTok as it has been in India. “It doesn’t seem like the sort of thing if you shut it down it would be, you know, this economic catastrophe.” TikTok, Shareit, UC Browser, Likee, WeChat, and others were among the 59 apps in the first batch that were banned by the Indian government in June last year “in view of the information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order,” according to a statement by the Ministry of Electronics and IT.

According to a study titled Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index by the University of Cambridge, China’s share in global Bitcoin mining stood at around 65 per cent as of April 2020 while the US accounted for only 7.2 per cent of global bitcoin mining. Moreover, China also accounted for close to 80 per cent of the global crypto trade, consuming an enormous amount of electricity that has a risk of undercutting its own climate goals, according to a research paper published by the journal Nature Communications earlier this week. The study noted that China’s bitcoin mines will generate 130.5m metric tons of carbon emissions by 2024. This is near to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of Italy or Saudi Arabia.

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