Steve Bannon is pushing an anti-Biden cryptocurrency — but a new report sounds the alarm about hidden risks
Steve Bannon speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Steve Bannon, host of the “War Room” podcast and former White House chief strategist under President Donald Trump, has been promoting his involvement in $FJB — a new cryptocurrency aimed at MAGA Republicans who hate President Joe Biden. But reporters Ali Breland and David Corn, in an article published by Mother Jones this week, warn that according to tech experts, $FJB could pose risks for investors.

The FJB in $FJB stands for “fuck Joe Biden.” Bannon, on his podcast, has called $FJB a “currency for the MAGA movement” — and his MAGA ally Boris Epshteyn has described it as a way to “let your feelings, your primal disapproval, your primal disgust with Biden be heard.”

Breland and Corn point out that starting a cryptocurrency is “surprisingly easy.” Making it profitable for investors, however, is another matter.

“$FJB buyers might want to beware,” Breland and Corn warn. “Not only does every purchase bolster the value of Bannon’s and Epshteyn’s holdings, crypto experts say the currency is designed in a way that affords its operators an unusual amount of discretion in blocking owners of coins from selling their tokens — a power that could cause problems for investors.”

Mother Jones interviewed tech expert Simon de la Rouvier for the article, and he is advising caution.

“The code for $FJB allows the currency’s operators to manually lock an owner’s token balance, an unusual practice in a space that aims to avoid centralized authority,” Breland and Corn explain. “This would prevent an owner from selling coins, according to Simon de la Rouvier, who reviewed the code for Mother Jones. De la Rouvier is a digital artist and co-author of ERC-20, a coding standard used to program contracts on the Ethereum blockchain — which supports Ether, a cryptocurrency second only to Bitcoin in market capitalization.”

According to de la Rouvier, the owners of $FJB are exempt from its restrictions. De la Rouvier told Mother Jones, “They can transfer as much as they want, whenever.”

In a chat on the messaging app Discord, Breland and Corn report, an $FJB user complained, “My wallet has been locked now for the 4th time. This time it’s locked by the new owners of $FJB. It’s an anxious time. (I’m) waiting for answers.”