21 Inc. founder Balaji Srinivasan is a finalist to lead Donald Trump’s Federal Drug Administration (FDA). After being announced as a pick for Trump’s FDA, the ardent transhumanist deleted not only his thousands of tweets, but also his Medium blog posts.
Social Media Memory Hole
In his social media activity, the tech entrepreneur’s tweets were critical of the FDA. “Why care about the FDA so much? Well, whether you want a new drug or to get transhumanism, they are the man to beat – or escape, via exit,” one tweet by Mr. Srinivasan read. His tweets even included jabs at the President-elect Trump before the election.
“Trump won. Don’t wait four years. Focus the energy on building the technologies to limit state power. Encryption, bitcoin, the works.”
He tweeted about regulation and monetary policy. “Don’t argue about regulation. Build Uber. Don’t argue about monetary policy. Build Bitcoin. Don’t argue about it. Build the alternative.”
Tweets also covered global adoption. “And if we think about the global Bitcoin userbase (-10 million people) transaction frequency trend is getting closer to a virtual nation-state.”
“Awesome how far Bitcoin has come since the last halving. Every major bank is now aware, and legal almost everywhere. What will 2020 bring?”
And Mr. Srinivasan called a new Bitcoin research paper about Mimblewimble “impressive” for proposing an idea for “nearly complete anonymity for all bitcoin transactions.”
His Medium header before deletion was “human dignity requires individual privacy.” He had written on the topic in publications such as Gawker Media and full-stack startups.
The computer scientist holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and also led the Stanford Bitcoin Group.
Balaji Founded Bitcoin-Centered 21 Inc.
His Bitcoin startup called its flagship product the “first bitcoin computer.” 21 Inc., founded in 2013 as Bitcoin reached an all-time high of approximately $1,200, has raised $116 million in investment capital. Proponents cite the company’s greatest accomplishment as “providing a holistic vision and developer environment to use Bitcoin to shape the Internet of Things and machine-to-machine payments,” as well as creating an environment where Bitcoin engineers are “watching, learning and sharing code and ideas.”
On its website, 21 Inc. asks its developer clients to help “build the machine payable web.” The company says it seeks to build a full-stack infrastructure “to take Bitcoin mainstream, from silicon to social.” Investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Peter Thiel, Qualcomm Ventures, Max Levchin and others.
In March 2015, 21 Inc. launched a micropayments marketplace which “allows machines to earn and spend bitcoin,” claimed Mr. Srinivasan on Twitter.
Peter Thiel Associate to FDA Choice?
The libertarian-leaning Mr. Srinivasan is a friend of Peter Thiel, who pledged $1.25 million in support for the Republican presidential candidate, and then was tapped to lead Mr. Trump’s transition team on matters of science and technology.
Mr. Thiel was an early investor in both Facebook and PayPal, and the billionaire technologist’s ‘Founder’s Fund’ invested $2 million into bitcoin payment processor, Bitpay, in 2013.
Mr. Thiel has said that encrypted money “would change the world.” He added that he thinks “Bitcoin is the first one of these that has the potential… It is worth thinking about money as the bubble that never ends. There is this sort of potential that Bitcoin could become this new phenomenon.”
Mr. Srinivasan was named in mid-January as a possible pick to become Commissioner of the FDA. He visited Trump Tower to talk with the then-Presidential elect. Critics of Mr. Srinivasan as new FDA head cite the Bitcoin entrepreneur’s lack of medical history.
The 21 Inc. founder regularly criticized the FDA on social media and says on his personal website that he avoids wearing a suit and tie. He left one Tweet: “Don’t argue on Twitter. Build the future.”
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Images courtesy of the WSJ, Twitter, 21 Inc
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