PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel speaks at a conference
Speaking at a virtual event for the Richard Nixon Foundation on Tuesday, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel cautioned that China could potentially use Bitcoin as a “financial weapon” against the U.S., Bloomberg first reported.
Thiel, a well-known proponent of cryptocurrency, appeared to tamper down his enthusiasm surrounding digital currency when speaking on U.S.-China relations.
“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.,” he said, while being joined by former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien. “It threatens fiat money, but it especially threatens the U.S. dollar.”
A noted China critic, Thiel also questioned where employees in Google’s artificial intelligence division were allowing Chinese officials to use their technology in the Xinjiang region. U.S. government officials have repeatedly criticized China for detaining Uyghurs in the area in internment camps. Thiel similarly reserved his criticism for other companies — including Apple — that have done business in China.
“Apple is probably the one [tech company] that’s structurally a real problem” for U.S. interests, he said, according to Bloomberg. “Apple is the one that has real synergies with China.”
The PayPal co-founder additionally echoed anti-TikTok sentiments from President Donald Trump, whom Thiel backed during the former president’s 2016 campaign. The businessman suggested that, like India, the U.S. should ban the China-headquartered social media platform, citing, without proof, the company’s “incredible exfiltration of data about people.” TikTok has repeatedly said that it doesn’t share its users’ information.