The crypto industry is always trying to pitch new things. This election season is the rise of Bitcoin voters, a new political constituency that seems ready to vote for all things cryptocurrency-friendly.
The Crypto Council for Innovation, a pro-crypto industry group representing platforms such as Fidelity and Gemini, said that one in seven voters “owns cryptocurrency and is ready to vote for a pro-crypto candidate.” We released data last Wednesday showing that Coinbase, a cryptocurrency trading platform with over 100 million users worldwide, has launched its own voter registration initiative, ranking candidates on their familiarity with cryptocurrency issues. However, a growing number of political campaigns are beginning to accept Bitcoin donations to demonstrate cryptocurrency credentials.
All of this is based on the idea that one day there could be a large number of voters supporting cryptocurrency candidates through donations and voting. To be honest, it’s still early days. The people behind the massive campaign to mobilize crypto voters told Recode that the upcoming midterm elections are essentially a practice round, but the ultimate goal is to benefit the crypto industry. is to develop a voting block that is ready to vote for
Still, it is not clear if this strategy will always work, as those who own cryptocurrencies are already spread across the political spectrum. , points out that the prospect of major cryptocurrency companies encouraging people to participate in the traditional political process is not necessarily consistent.
“As long as such people exist, they are probably people who are already deeply invested in some form of cryptocurrency space,” said David Golvia of Virginia Commonwealth University, who wrote about Bitcoin politics. says the professor. “Ironically, the entire space is saturated with anti-government sentiment and anti-democratic ideas.”
Those leading the effort have some idea of who these cryptocurrency voters are. People with income are more likely to use cryptocurrencies. Men are about 14% more likely to use cryptocurrencies than women, and blacks, Hispanics, and Asian Americans Slightly more likely to use currency. It’s not clear if the mere use of cryptocurrencies will make anyone want to vote pro-crypto, but some strategists believe that enough people own cryptocurrencies now that the group could He said he could have political influence. Currently, about 16% of US adults have used cryptocurrency at least once.
“One way to accelerate policy progress on Web3 is for candidates to start polling on Web3 and see how many people are holding onto it,” said Haun Ventures, who currently works at Chris Lehane, a prominent Democratic political consultant who has Founded by former Andreessen-Horowitz partner Kathryn Haun. “You don’t see cohorts of this size when you leave politics.”
At this point, cryptocurrencies are not party-friendly, unlike major issues like gun reform, climate change, and abortion. Republican and Democratic candidates support and criticize cryptocurrencies, and there are members of both parties in Congress’ Blockchain Caucus, a group of lawmakers studying the technology. An opinion poll conducted by Morning Consult late last year showed equal shares of Democrats and Republicans in favor of deregulating cryptocurrencies, and a poll commissioned by a crypto-promoting company yielded similar results.
Haun Ventures recently commissioned a Morning Consult study to show that swing state voters support the ideology behind Web3. This ideology is a term used to refer to technologies such as cryptocurrency and blockchain, and “Web3 voters” in New Hampshire, Nevada and Ohio were slightly more Democratic in Pennsylvania. GMI PAC, a super PAC backed by several crypto-focused venture capital and investment firms and a hedge fund led by Trump-era minor character Anthony Scaramucci, also announced this month that many voters are currently active. released a poll highlighting that they may be using or wanting to use cryptocurrencies.
Stephen Diehl, a prominent critic of cryptocurrencies and co-founder of the Center for Emerging Technology Policy, told Recode: “It’s only natural that they want to win voters.”
Crypto users don’t seem to be outright supportive of any political party, but crypto companies are still trying to get them to vote for pro-crypto candidates. After launching its voter registration initiative this summer, Coinbase established a “legislative action portal” within its app. It is typically used to monitor crypto prices and trade in various cryptocurrencies. The portal ranks politicians on their support for crypto using their official statements, legislative records, and data collected on whether they accept donations for crypto campaigns. For example, while Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s ratings are skewed negative, another Senator from New York, Kirsten, has a very positive rating for his Gillibrand.
“We are building an educational infrastructure that will last until this midterm election, the 2024 election, and provide people with a way to participate in the process, not only in October, but also in the election year. [in] It’s our off-year, March,” said Miti Sathe, who leads community engagement at Coinbase and was previously involved in the Obama campaign. “We keep the community enthusiastic about crypto issues because that’s what we hear from the community.”
Many of the politicians listed in Coinbase’s system currently have no ratings at all, but Sathe said that crypto policy will soon become a key voting issue, and more officials will be taking public positions. In the meantime, the app directs Coinbase users to a website and sends out form emails urging politicians to support a “pro-crypto policy.” Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said: Said The app could eventually help politicians solicit donations and expand into elections outside the United States. , Armstrong banned internal debates about politics and said the company would “minimally focus on causes” unrelated to its core business.
In addition to directly involving voters, there is a move among some politicians in favor of cryptocurrencies to accept cryptocurrency donations. There is not much difference between those who send campaign cryptocurrency and convert it to easy-to-use dollars and those who convert cryptocurrency themselves before donating. Still, politicians can now accept cryptocurrencies through several platforms, including Coinbase, BitPay, and his specifically politically focused service called Engage Raise. Sixteen candidates have signed up to accept cryptocurrency donations such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin on his Engage Raise, while others are soliciting cryptocurrencies directly on the campaign website.
The results are mixed. Martin Dobelle, the CEO of the company that runs Engage Raise, told Recode that he received cryptocurrency donations from “probably half” of the 100 he received. BitPay CEO Bill Zielke told his Recode in an email that the platform has processed “more than 500 cryptocurrency donations” this year, although it was specifically used for political campaigns compared to other purposes. It did not disclose how many were stolen. At the same time, Blake Masters, a Trump-backed Republican venture capitalist and running for U.S. Senate in Arizona, is 99 of his NFTs in a book he co-authored with Republican donor Peter Thiel. version was auctioned, raising over $500,000. You will be given the opportunity to participate in social events.
Federal Election Commission data shared with Recode suggests the campaign disclosed receipts for at least 350 cryptocurrency transactions between the beginning of 2021 and the end of September this year. , that number does not include all donations made in the third quarter of 2022. Still, a single campaign could process several times as many receipts in traditional currencies during an election cycle, with only a handful of campaigns representing cryptocurrency receipts highlighted by FEC data. Oregon. The FEC allows virtual currency donations but has issued recommendations on how to disclose virtual currency donations.
“States are developing guidance on this, but it’s too early,” Sarah Bryner, director of research and strategy at OpenSecrets, told Recode. “So I think candidates and political committees are a little more cautious because there are good reasons for accepting or soliciting this kind of funding.”
However, the greatest impact of cryptocurrencies on politics is not represented by Bitcoin or Ethereum. It’s all about the US dollar — and a lot of them. A string of pro-cryptocurrency his PACs appeared in cash to support pro-crypto politicians from both parties, including the Blockchain Association, Web3 Forward, and Crypto Innovation. Think tanks and lobbying firms have already arrived on the Beltway to influence the way politicians formulate new cryptocurrency regulations. And then there’s a new crypto donor class: Sam Bankman-Fried, billionaire founder and CEO of crypto platform FTX, suggests it could spend up to $1 billion on the 2024 election Ranked among the most influential individual donors this election cycle.
Still, while attempts to mobilize voters in favor of cryptocurrencies are only part of a broader movement to embed cryptocurrencies into institutional politics, the people behind the effort are said he hopes to be a real force in future elections. Naturally, crypto companies are excited about the idea, but others are skeptical of the influential crypto votes. I’m already worried about what foundation means in the end.
“Go to someone and say, ‘Who are you voting for?’ Rohan Gray, a law professor at Willamette University who advised Rep. Rashida Tribe on regulating stablecoins, said: Being a single-issue voter on crypto is especially dangerous for democracy if a significant number of those running for the United States really don’t believe in the electoral process or are outright fascist in their goals.”