Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. made his debut at the Bitcoin 2023 conference, where he shared his experiences with Bitcoin and warned about how technology is enabling government totalitarianism. He promised to protect the rights of Bitcoin users if elected president, stating that he is a lifelong defender of civil liberties and Bitcoin is both an exercise and a guarantee of those freedoms. Kennedy became interested in Bitcoin as a freedom technology after learning about how it was used to circumvent financial restrictions during the Canadian trucker protest last year. He reinforced his distaste for regulations that hinder the development of Bitcoin innovation, such as the proposed tax on energy used by miners. He outlined the steps his administration would take to drive Bitcoin innovation in the U.S, including defending the right of self-custody of digital assets and maintaining the U.S as the global hub of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Kennedy would also consider pardoning individuals like Ross Ulbricht, founder of Silk Road, who received a double life sentence in 2013. Kennedy positions himself as a party outsider with his public stances on issues such as vaccine mandates and climate change, and as of this writing, sits in second place to Joe Biden in national polling average. Kennedy clarified that he is not personally invested in Bitcoin and announced that his presidential campaign would be the first in history to accept donations via the Lightning Network.