By Jon Swartz
Billionaire cryptocurrency pioneer Brock Pierce says he decided to run for president because he is “deeply concerned about the state of our nation, our future.”
Now comes the hard part.
The child actor-turned-entrepreneur-turned politician faces steep odds in launching a virtual presidential campaign with the general election only four months away, and with no clear-cut platform or wide presence on state ballots.
But such is the state of a campaign that he decided to jump in — Pierce, 39, announced his bid in a video over the weekend — and use his candidacy to promote blockchain, which powers cryptocurrency, and help build what he calls a “21st-century economy.”
“I see a nation that is divided, with lots of polarization. It is drifting further left and further right. There is not enough moderate opinion to bring us together,” Pierce, who appeared in the Walt Disney Co. /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -0.68% movie “The Mighty Ducks” before becoming an early investor in the digital currency bitcoin /zigman2/quotes/31322028/realtime BTCUSD +0.08% , told MarketWatch in a phone interview Thursday.
He plans to formulate a platform in good part through crowdsourcing voters on his website , which is also seeking donations. “Most politicians feel as if they have an answer for everything,” Pierce said. “We are going to do it differently, and invite all Americans to participate in the process to get a consensus and perspectives on where people stand on issues.”
Leveraging his expertise in small business and cryptocurrency, Pierce said he will run as a moderate independent who will embrace technology to spur innovation and the economy — mirroring an approach taken by three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul.
“I’m a small-business entrepreneur making big things out of nothing, and I think entrepreneurs built this nation, and I think entrepreneurs and innovators are the ones that are going to get us out of our current situation,” Pierce said.
The abrupt candidacy of Pierce coincides with Kanye West’s bid for the White House, which Pierce welcomed as a means to spur the involvement of millennials in the electoral process.
See also: Kanye West sheds MAGA hat, takes aim at White House: ‘If I win in 2020, then it was God’s appointment’
“Kanye and I are clearly tapping into the same thing and [I’m] really excited to see his — his running as well,” Pierce said. “Hopefully, collectively, we can deliver a powerful message to the American people at a time where I think we need it.”
Both West and Pierce will encounter a serpentine road in getting on the ballot in 50 states as independent candidates. Each must meet filing deadlines and signature requirements. Some states allow candidates to pay a filing fee to get on the ballot.
“From a ballot perspective, we think that we’ll be on a majority of the ballots and that is the immediate sort of work that we have to do right now as those deadlines continue to hit,” Pierce said.
Pierce could also face scrutiny of his personal life. He was named as a defendant in a 2000 lawsuit over his connection with disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. Pierce has said “there was no truth to the allegations,” which he described as an “extortion attempt.”