A coalition of three super PACs, backed by prominent figures in the cryptocurrency industry, announced on Monday that they have successfully raised $78 million in a concerted effort to wield influence in the upcoming 2024 elections. The campaign, supported by major players such as venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz, U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase, and the Winklevoss twins, signals a resurgence of the digital asset industry’s political involvement following the decline of crypto megadonor Sam Bankman-Fried.
The primary objective of this initiative is to endorse candidates who advocate for crypto-friendly policies, a crucial endeavor as the industry faces heightened scrutiny from federal regulators. Notably, one of the affiliated super PACs, Fairshake, has already allocated more than $1.2 million towards television ads supporting House candidates. The remaining two super PACs, Protect Progress and Defend American Jobs, have yet to report any independent expenditures.
Kara Calvert, the head of U.S. policy at Coinbase, emphasized the significance of this commitment from the crypto industry, stating in an interview, “This is demonstrating a very serious commitment from the crypto industry to engage in the 2024 elections.”
The timing of this political push aligns with a critical juncture for the crypto industry, currently lobbying for House GOP bills designed to legitimize digital assets and establish a new regulatory framework. However, these legislative efforts face challenges in the Senate and with the Biden administration, amid concerns related to consumer protection and financial crime. Crypto firms are banking on a potential reshaping of Washington policy in 2024 to align more favorably with their interests.
Chris Dixon, leader of Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto fund, expressed in a blog post on Monday that conversations with lawmakers have highlighted the need to showcase crypto and blockchain as a significant force. He emphasized countering the influence of big banks and big tech through active political engagement.
“While we won’t control how Fairshake spends our donation, we are encouraged by their vision,” Dixon stated. Last week, Andreessen Horowitz announced its intention to allocate funds to support political candidates.
The complete donor profile of these super PACs will only be publicly available with the release of campaign finance disclosures early next year. However, an initial list of contributors unveiled on Monday includes major crypto entities such as Circle, Kraken, Paradigm, Ripple, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, and venture capitalists Ron Conway and Fred Wilson.
In a separate move, Coinbase has launched a grassroots advocacy campaign to further promote crypto-friendly policies. The broader crypto industry anticipates the mobilization of additional pro-crypto super PACs in the coming year, reflecting a concerted effort to shape the political landscape in favor of digital assets.
As the 2024 elections draw nearer, the infusion of substantial financial resources into the political arena by cryptocurrency stakeholders underscores the industry’s commitment to actively participate in shaping regulatory frameworks and policies that impact its future. The interplay between crypto advocates and lawmakers will be closely watched as the industry seeks to navigate the complex regulatory landscape and garner support for its initiatives in Washington.