Coinbase CEO: “We need to support pro-crypto candidates on both sides of the aisle”

Coinbase CEO: “We need to support pro-crypto candidates on both sides of the aisle”
Credit: chrisdorney / Shutterstock

Although secondary to many other pressing issues, cryptocurrency is becoming something of a political football in this year’s US election discussions – and Coinbase is encouraging American crypto holders to get involved.

In a recent blog post, the cryptocurrency exchange endorsed the activities of the US’ two leading political action committees on crypto – Stand with Crypto and Fairshake, also announcing further funding for the latter.

PACs getting prepared

Coinbase has donated $25m to Fairshake, which has become one of the largest Super PACs in the US with total funding of $160m. This follows Ripple Labs’ own $25m donation to the campaign group.

In the blog post, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong also praised the efforts of Stand with Crypto, which launched its PAC late last month. Armstrong also noted the progress Stand with Crypto is making in terms of rank-and-file membership, which stands at 900,000 nationwide.

He anticipates the advocacy group to have over one million members by Labor Day (2 September), and noted that over 200,000 of the group’s advocates are making contact with their local members of Congress.

“The more this grows, the more crypto voters will be a force to be reckoned with,” Armstrong asserts. “There are candidate scorecards, tools to contact your representatives, options to donate and tools to help register to vote.”

“We will support StandWithCrypto.org as best we can to help it grow,” he pledged.

Crypto industry campaigning likely played a key role in the passage of the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Bill (FIT21) through the House of Representatives last month. 

The legislation seeks greater legislative and regulatory clarity on cryptocurrency – something Coinbase believes is essential for the sector to continue developing. 

Although not crypto’s biggest fan, Joe Biden has pledged to work with Congress on the legislation, though he has vetoed Congress’ decision to overturn Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s SAB121 guidelines.

However, just because Biden, a Democrat, has a somewhat confrontational approach towards cryptocurrency, this is not a viewpoint shared entirely by the rest of his party colleagues.

Bipartisan blockchain

“There are 52 million Americans who have owned crypto, and many pro-crypto candidates on both sides of the aisle,” Armstrong remarked in his blog. When looking at the bipartisan support for FIT21, this statement is far from inaccurate.

Introduced by a Republican legislator, FIT21 passed through the House of Representatives with 279 votes in favour and 136 against. Of the 279 in favour, 209 were Republicans and 71 were Democrats. Of the 136 against, 133 were Democrats and three were Republicans.

This suggests that the Democrat rank-and-file may be more receptive to crypto markets than the man who sits in the White House. Armstrong cited data suggesting that crypto ownership is even broader in a bipartisan sense than the FIT21 votes – 22% of crypto holders are Democrats, 22% are Independents and 18% are Republicans, according to Coinbase.

“The 20% of the US adult population who have owned crypto are younger, more racially diverse and cut across political ideological lines,” Coinbase’s CEO continued.

“They’re demanding alternatives to a broken, bureaucratic system with gatekeepers, delays and fees. And they’re demanding to be heard in this next election.”

The US is set for two major elections this year, all occurring on 5 November. The Presidential vote will see incumbent Joe Biden against former President Donald Trump, of the Republican Party. 

“Crypto voters won’t be taken seriously until we send a clear message to political candidates.”

Both Biden and Trump clearly have very different views on crypto, the former more cautious or conformational and the latter more supportive – although not on the topic of CBDCs, as he made clear at the Libertarian National Convention last month.

Meanwhile, legislative elections will also take place on 5 November, deciding Representatives and Senators. As the people responsible for voting on any subsequent crypto legislation, industry PACs will be campaigning for the candidates – whether Democrat or Republican – with the more favourable views on the sector.

Although stressing it is an apolitical business, Coinbase is encouraging crypto owners and industry stakeholders to get involved politically. As the election heats up over the coming months, more activity from the crypto sector should not come as a surprise to anyone.

“Crypto voters won’t be taken seriously until we send a clear message to political candidates that it is bad politics to be anti-crypto,” said Armstrong.

“Therefore, the simple conclusion is that we need to support pro-crypto candidates on both sides of the aisle, and unceremoniously vote anti-crypto candidates out of office.”