Last week, child actor-turned Bitcoin billionaire-turned presidential candidate Brock Pierce flew into Alaska on his private jet, promoting his candidacy, and more importantly in the present, his ideas for fixing our broken country.
Alaska is one of 16 states where Pierce is on the ballot for the Nov. 3 election, and the one-time actor who played Gordon in ‘The Mighty Ducks’ films and got his biggest starring role in ‘First Kid’, where he played the president’s son under the comically watchful detail of secret service agent Sinbad, met with Alaskan political leaders for about four days. He said initial conversations with local leaders interested in innovative and modern economic development solutions have inspired him to come back in December to meet with them specifically.
Every bit the stereotypical Bitcoin billionaire, the diminutive but highly energetic Pierce is a devotee of Burning Man and when he drives around his home in Puerto Rico, he’s usually in his ‘Back to the Future’ replica DeLorean with the license plate ‘SATOSHI’, which happens to be the smallest denomination of Bitcoin.
I caught up with him for a little Q&A over breakfast at the Captain Cook Hotel.
Why are you running for President?
In one word — love; love for this country and love for the American people at a time when I’m deeply concerned about the state of our nation. The United States is feeling very much like the Divided States right now — we’re divided politically, economically, racially and simultaneously we’re facing some very real existential threats. It feels to me like we’re doomed if we don’t do something different.
What are those existential threats?
We have our electoral process and every four years we go, ‘oh, my team won. Yay.’ But does it get better? We’re on a perpetual downward cycle where what served us in the past no longer serves us in the future. I think there’s a lack of vision. I don’t think America clearly understands where we’re going. And when you’re not aiming for something what happens is you typically go in circles and that feels a lot like what’s going on. I’d like to have a conversation with the American people about vision. What are we trying to do? Where are we trying to go? What is our goal?
We’re not even talking about the elephant in the room. The U.S. Dollar is the foundation of our nation, the foundation of our nation’s economy. The U.S. Dollar’s reserve status adds $20-$30 trillion to our economy. If something were to happen to that the impact it would have on all of our lives, our businesses, our institutions would be enormously bad. It is at risk and under threat. It’s at risk because of our fiscal policy, our national debt — the trust and faith and confidence (in the Dollar) is eroding. So to deal with those external threats, I created the U.S. digital dollar in 2014. That system does $10 trillion a year in transactional volume, and is probably the most important monetary systems since the advent of Fiat. The governments of countries are using that to enhance the framework of their currency and unfortunately, the Chinese government is years ahead of us on that.
So how much is Bitcoin and blockchain part of your prescription for fixing America?
Very little. I don’t even reference it ever. I do talk about technology in context of how it is impacting currency, and blockchain is likely how that’s done; it’s what the Chinese government is doing to advance their system.
Well how does the U.S., not being a state-controlled capital system like China, keep up with that?
We have to recognize that technology is changing everything and impacting all of our lives, all of our businesses. The Federal Reserve is now, finally, very actively talking about how blockchain is an important element for the U.S. Dollar and Trump’s National Security Advisor said this might be the biggest issue our country faces. I wish we’d been aware of that 3 or 4 years ago, but the good news is that we’re still the capital of innovation, even if it seems at times that we’re not nurturing it as much as stifling it.
How do you think America became so divided?
A big part of it is systems of two… They say systems of two always lead to collusion or monopolies — that’s why we have antitrust laws. The Chinese, they know never to have one or two (business interests), always create three; even if it’s a wholly state-owned enterprise, the Chinese government creates three. We know systems of two always magnetically create a total collusion or a total separation — it’s a systems design problem.
George Washington did a good job warning us in his closing address, telling us the risks posed by political parties. Some of the other founders warned us that the worst thing would be if one or two political parties became dominant. We failed to pay attention to the warnings so clearly written on the walls. We have to find a path back to unity — political unity, economic unity, racial unity… We need a magnetic forcing function — something independent needs to happen. We only need to get five ‘so-called’ independents into Congress and maybe another three in the Senate to force everyone back into the conversation, back into the fold. We’re on a path right now that could lead to something like civil war and that is scary.
Who’s a political figure you look up to?
George Washington is a good place to start as an independent candidate. In fact he’s the only independent President we’ve ever had and he’s one of the few people in history asked to be king. What did he do? Most people, when confronted with that kind of (opportunity for) power typically (take advantage). Call me a ‘Lord of the Rings’ fan, but he threw the Ring of Power into the Mordor fire. He said, ‘we just fought for independence from monarchy, let’s not repeat the same mistake.
What do you think of Donald Trump? Is he trying to make himself a king?
Donald Trump appears to be a real patriot; he seems to care about the country a great deal and I think that’s a very good thing. I like the fact that he’s not a career politician, and I like that he represents something that’s the traditional establishment, so I think he’s paving the way for change.
I don’t ever speak negatively about people. You’ll never hear me criticize people.
It would seem that some of your talking points on your website would resonate more with progressive voters, especially your talk about things like renewable energy.
Well, I tend to resonate with very strong conservatives as well as liberals because my position is actually quite moderate. You’ll see a lot of fiscal conservatism in my, but I’m very practical in taking a look at the realities of the present. It’s pretty much all founded on common sense. Every Democrat I’ve known thinks I’m a Democrat and every Republican I’ve known assumes I’m a Republican. I don’t really identify with any of those old banners. Something like 70 percent don’t identify with their parties either, they just say, ‘I don’t identify with the other party, so I guess I’m this.’ It’s the limiting factor of two choices that makes us say that rather than saying, ‘I am this. I share these beliefs.’
So you’re on 16 state ballots; are there any you think you might have any impact on the outcome?
We’re data scientists and right now we have no data that shows we take more votes from one (establishment) candidate than another. But we’re also data scientists, meaning I could very easily push the right pedal or the left pedal if I wanted to, but that’s not my intention. I’m not running against anyone; I’m running with and for everyone, trying to be the neutral actor throughout the election. This is more about 2024 than 2020.
Do you think 2020 might be the election year that finally cracks the two-party system?
I think this is perhaps the beginning of a movement, and the movement could pick up steam over the years to come. By 2024, 38 percent of registered voters will be registered independent, and 43 percent of those eligible are not voting. Meanwhile, 70 percent of Republicans and Democrats are not really happy with their parties, which means we (independents) are the majority; we actually probably always have been, we’ve just been fooled into thinking we only had two choices. We’ve been divided out of fear.
Was there some headline or a Eureka moment that made you decide to run for president?
It’s not one thing. But let’s just say I met with some very senior leadership in government in DC to talk about currency and I walked out of that meeting saying, ‘oh my God, we don’t have anyone upstairs that is actually paying attention.”
I was a believer that there was that room full of people who maybe were on top of things, but I came out of that realizing, no, there is not. That was very alarming to me. I went walking around Washington DC pretty much all night and thought, ‘well, if I guess not us, who? I guess I’d better do something.’
Then I guess what you could call the ‘Eureka’ moment was my concern surrounding the state of our nation in the election cycle. It was kind of an alarm bell that started going off saying, ‘you need to do something now.’
I was not expecting to be throwing myself into this ring because it is the ultimate sacrifice to do this. You have to be prepared to lose everything you have — potentially your liberty, your possessions, possibly your life; that is the stakes of running for president, and certainly if you’re attempting to challenge the status quo. I’m the father of a 12 year old and a one-and-a-half year-old daughter, and I’m not the type to sit by on the sidelines and watch the world burn. I’m going to do what I can.
As a resident of Puerto Rico, do you support its statehood?
I’ve been living there for three years now. I favor what’s best for Puerto Rico and what Puerto Rico wants. I think (statehood) is probably what’s best for them, but I care more about what they think. They have one of three paths: independence, the status quo or statehood. I think statehood is probably best for them, but there’s not a consensus. If you spend time there you’ll find that a meaningful amount of Puerto Ricans believe they want to be their own nation. There are concerns about how that would fare for them, but I understand.
Alaska is a relatively recent territory-turned-state; do you see any similarities between it and Puerto Rico?
One thing they have in common which a presidential candidate has ever brought up is the need to fix the Jones Act; it is negatively impacting Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. It’s what makes the cost of living so high in these places.
If you’re in Canada, for instance, and you want to ship something across the border to Alaska, it has to go to Washington State first, then come off a ship and back on a U.S. ship to ship back to Alaska. The Dominican Republic is just across the water (from Puerto Rico) but you can’t ship it. It has to go to Miami, then get on another ship. It’s why the cost of living is so high. It’s an old, draconian shipping rule put in place originally to protect ferries, and then to protect the shipping industry but it’s not really doing anything other than causing harm to places like Alaska, Puerto Rico and Hawaii.
You’re a big proponent of Burning Man. What’s it’s greatest value, and what’s the biggest misconception about it?
It’s the biggest and most significant art festival in the world is what it is. I believe art is a very important aspect of life. Without art and culture we’re kind of lost as a civilization. I’m a huge proponent of the arts. Burning Man is also probably the most important social experiment in the world, where it questions a lot of the existing notions we have. It’s an environment where no money exists — that’s not to say that money doesn’t have a place in society, but it’s an experiment to learn something about an entirely gifting-based culture. I measure my success in life not by what I have but what I give. I would say that festival is about learning that giving is the greatest gift there is.
Finally, for Alaskans who might see your name on the ballot and be attracted to some of your ideas, what would you say to them if they’re worried that voting for you will help the ‘bad thing’ happen and help the major candidate they don’t want to win? How are they not throwing their vote away?
I would say that Americans are going to stay in a perpetual cycle as long as we adhere to that flawed mindset of ‘throwing your vote away.’ It’s a tactic of year used by two-party systems… The most important thing we have in life is the power to change ourselves. Though we have the ability to influence and inspire others, the most important thing is to act according to our conscience and always do what you believe to be right. Don’t make decisions out of fear. We’re going to stay in this cycle until we stand up for what we believe in. That may not produce results right now, but it will produce what we need in the long-term to break from a fear-based mindset and act according to our consciences, to live our truth and stand up for what we believe. As long as we stay in this fear-based system, we’re going to have to keep learning this lesson — painfully.