The Financial Times scorns Nigel Farage for his apparently predictable embrace of libertarian cryptocurrency influencers.
The United Kingdom Tory Party's nemesis, Nigel Farage, has gone “full crypto.”
On Nov. 27, Farage sat down for a video interview to discuss all things crypto with Sam Volkering, the editor of Southbank Investment Research, which is, notably, the publisher of Farage's recently launched investor newsletter "Fortune & Freedom."
In the interview, Farage derided the government's “funny money,” which it continues to print throughout the pandemic at warp speed, and concluded that it's therefore “crucially important” to get one's head around crypto.
He has elsewhere called Bitcoin “the ultimate anti-lockdown investment,” pointedly on-brand for his newly-launched Reform UK party.
Farage and Volkering's video interview is apparently just the first in a series, which will educate viewers about how to buy crypto, how to store it and keep it safe.
Journalists at The Financial Times have apparently long expected the politician's pivot to crypto — “it was only a matter of time,” as Alphaville columnist Jemima Kelly would have it.
The evidence for the “inevitable” crypto pivot is hard to quibble with. Farage's Fortune & Freedom pitches itself to an audience that aspires to “grow [its] wealth” in a “New Britain, unleashed after Brexit.” Farage, a former commodities trader, tells his readers that having secured political freedom through Brexit, it's time for them to get their money and their destiny back in their hands.
Other newsletters published by Southbank Investment Research include titles such as “Short the World,“ “Crypto Profits Extreme,“ and “Exponential Investor Premium.“ Volkering is a self-described “authority in the new field of digital assets,” having first bought Bitcoin in 2011 and “followed the cryptocurrencies ‘wild west.’”
He is also the author of a book called Crypto Revolution: Bitcoin, Cryptocurrencies and The Future of Money, also published by Southbank Investment Research. Kelly scathingly recommends the book as an opportune gift choice for FT readers who may have ended up with a despised colleague for their 2020 office Secret Santa.
The FT's unabashed dislike of Farage and his crypto enthusiast colleague aside, some of the influences on Fortune & Freedom appear to be more eclectic than the alleged free-market fundamentalism of the Brexiteers.
The close ties between the libertarian movement and the arch-Atlanticists of the Vote Leave campaign have, by now, been well documented. One Whitehall source stated that "not even Margaret Thatcher or monetarism at its height had contemplated such shock therapy” as the Brexiteers, with their drive towards a unilateral opening up of the U.K. to the United States market and a radical economic liberalization of the country.
Yet Farage's partner on the newsletter, Nick Hubble, published a piece on Dec. 3, claiming that both "Keynes and Friedman died of COVID-19" and advocating the "radical future" promised by the proponents of Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT.
MMT takes up the argument that states create the demand for their fiat currencies by taxing the population. Money is therefore seen as a unit of account for credit and debt, which can be created and destroyed at will by sovereign states. MMT popularizer Stephanie Kelton writes that the state can, “afford to buy whatever is for sale in its own unit of account.”
This is a view starkly opposed to many Bitcoiners’ conviction that loose monetary policy represents a putative, inflationary debasement of value.
How Hubble will reconcile his apparent embrace of MMT with his previous view that cryptocurrencies "represent the first reversal of [...] government theft in hundreds of years" remains to be seen.
With the U.K. poised to face its worst shock in 300 years due to the combined impact of coronavirus and Brexit, it is perhaps the spirit of the monetarists, if not the letter, that will triumph according to Milton Friedman's legendary maxim: "Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around."
Whether it be MMT, the crypto revolution or Farage-Hubble eclecticism, something will present itself as being ready to hand for the select few beneficiaries of Britain's 2020 twofold crisis. It is, after all, the perfect time for someone's preferred alternative to shift from "politically impossible" to being "politically inevitable.”