Billionaire bitcoin evangelist Tim Draper has grudgingly shelved his ambitious plan to split California into three states.
Draper, a venture capitalist, and prolific cryptocurrency investor wrote in a letter dated Aug. 2 that he will not appeal a court decision barring his initiative — formally known as Proposition 9 but better known as “Cal 3” — from appearing on the ballot in November.
“I wanted it to be on the ballot this year,” said Draper, who spent more than $1.7 million on the endeavor, according to a report in the Sacramento Bee. “The political environment for radical change is right now — such change is sweeping the globe. I understand that change is hard, change is scary, but change is evolution and this government is not evolving.”
The California Supreme Court had last month ruled that, despite procuring the necessary signatures to bring the three Californias plan before the state’s voters as a ballot initiative, the plan should be removed from the November ballot, siding with opponents who argued that Proposition 9 was a revision to the state constitution and thus required support from two-thirds of the state’s legislature before it could be set before voters.
The court left open the possibility that Proposition 9 could appear on the ballot in the future, but Draper declined to pursue the legal fight further, stating that it is unlikely that the future political climate will be as favorable to his initiative as the present one.
It’s not the first time Draper has tried — and failed — to split the most populous U.S. state and the world’s fifth-largest economy into multiple pieces. From 2013 to 2016, Draper spent more than $5 million promoting his “Six Californias” plan, which did not receive enough signatures to qualify as a ballot initiative. He did have the signatures this time, though his plan was ultimately thwarted by the courts.
Even had Proposition 9 made its way to the ballot, its proponents faced an uphill battle in carrying it over the finish line. In addition to the difficulty of convincing voters that the cure for California’s ills was a three-state solution, the initiative faced intense hostility from both Democrats and Republican legislators. Nevertheless, Draper believed that it was a discussion worth having.
“I wanted to let the voters debate, discuss and think about a different way forward — essentially a reboot. And, I wanted the political class to hear and witness the frustration of California’s voters with decades of inaction and decay,” he wrote. “I believed there was a significant benefit to our democracy in that.”
Draper, as CCN reported, is best known among cryptocurrency enthusiasts for purchasing 30,000 bitcoins seized by the U.S. Marshals Service from now-defunct dark web marketplace Silk Road. He has also said that he expects the bitcoin price to reach $250,000 by 2022.