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White House top tech critic Tim Wu holds more than $ 1 million in Bitcoin



Wu wasn’t always a fan of Bitcoin. In 2017 he called it a “bubble” and asked the question: “Is it really worth something?”

“Bitcoin is not backed by any state, and unlike a stock or a bond, it gives you a right to nothing but Bitcoin itself,” he wrote, although he added that this “illusory quality” describes most forms of money. While he doubted the practical value of consumers using Bitcoin to pay for their daily purchases due to the large volatility in price, he said that the cryptocurrency “could function as a store of value that you can sell”. He also said Bitcoin reflects a trend in social trust that is shifting from human institutions to systems based on code.

Wu, who coined the term “net neutrality” and served in the Obama administration, declined to comment on the story.

A White House official said in a statement that “Tim is generally excluded from and has not worked on certain matters involving Bitcoin or cryptocurrencies due to his financial interests in general.” The official asked for anonymity to discuss personnel matters .

Wu was on leave from his post as a law professor at Columbia University to join the Biden government. At Columbia, he made $ 617,500 in the 16 months before joining the White House.

Based on the current Bitcoin price of around $ 34,000, Wu holds between 29 and 146 actual bitcoins. Bitcoin is more than 40 percent below its value, but performed relatively well in 2021, by around 20 percent so far this year.

Overall, Wu is worth between nearly $ 4 million and $ 11.5 million, with much of its money tied up in Vanguard mutual funds. Bitcoin investment makes up between 25 and 43 percent of his wealth.

Wu’s revelation reveals that his other investments include condominiums in Washington, DC and Buenos Aires, Argentina, which he owns with his wife, and between $ 15,001 and $ 50,000 in gold bars. It also shows that he received income from payments for articles, speeches, and book fees.

Those payments include $ 24,800 last year as a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, earning $ 1,550 per article, and $ 12,285 for Medium (approximately $ 650 each). He has also made $ 15,400 speaking for the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership and the University of Hawaii, among others.

Wu, who has written four books, including “The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age” and “The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads,” also earned between $ 75,205 and $ 181,000 in book licenses.

The financial disclosure was provided to POLITICO by Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation, which requested the document from the White House.

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