Peter Thiel still supports Trump, hints at a bitcoin bubble, and teases a conservative media network

Holding forth.
Holding forth.
Image: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
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Since appearing at the Republican National Convention’s main stage in 2016 to promote candidate Donald Trump, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has largely kept out of the spotlight.

The billionaire investor, Silicon Valley’s most prominent libertarian, has since stepped back from politics and even from the Valley, which he decries as a “one-party state.” He spoke with Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo this week in New York about his plans in media, politics, and his new home in Los Angeles. The excerpts below are from the full interview to be broadcast on Friday morning (March 16).

On possible plans to start a new conservative news network:

“We’ve looked at doing something on the media content side for some time. The big challenge is really figuring out how to get the business model to work. And the sense is that cable works, but it’s not clear that’s the future. The future is something that’s more internet-centric, but it’s still very unclear how one get the business model to work from a content production side. So I’ve spoken to a lot of different people but I haven’t yet figured out that problem.”

On why is he leaving Silicon Valley and moving to Los Angeles:

“There is a point where network effects go very wrong and where sort of, the network effects where everyone is super connected, everyone knows what everyone is thinking, everyone ends up thinking the same thing, it sort of shifts over into the madness of crowds and I think somehow we’ve gotten to the point where perhaps the negatives are greater than the positives.”

On the criticism he has faced for supporting Trump:

“Of course I got heat, and I don’t want to exaggerate the importance that I think it’s ok to be in a place where most people are liberal or where most people have views different from my own. I do think there is something different when it goes from a large majority having one way to it being almost unanimous because things are never unanimous. So when people are unanimously on one side that tells you not that they’ve all figured out the truth but that they are in sort of a totalitarian place, that they are in a one party state where they are not allowed to have dissenting views.”

On why he still supports Trump:

“Perhaps the single thing I saw in President Trump and that I still think is terrific is his willingness to challenge some of the orthodoxies, the politically correct orthodoxies in our country and to freshly rethink things in a variety of ways, and I think that’s so critical for us moving forward.”

On tariffs and the trade deficit with China:

“Something like the tariffs, where you’re always supposed to be anti-tariff and you’re always supposed to be reflexively pro free trade. But I think that needs to be rethought as well. It’s obvious that there is something wrong with our trade relations when they are this asymmetric. We import $475 billion a year from China, we export $100 billion. That’s an incredible trade deficit. And the economic theory is that that developing country should have trade deficits because it has the faster growing economy, but capital should be flowing from the U.S. to invest in China and then China should have trade deficits that offset the flows, and we instead live in a world where the money is sort of strangely flowing up hill.”

On bitcoin:

“It has all of these sort of ’99-2000 bubble-like aspects, but one thing that is very different from ’99-2000 is there are almost no Wall Street analysts pushing this, and so it is so out of favor.”