Crypto has rarely taken center stage in American politics, despite how pressing the question of US crypto regulation may be to insiders. But Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong, has said it should be a major issue in the 2024 presidential election.
Speaking in New York on Thursday, September 21, Armstrong even said he would contribute $1M to a pro-crypto super PAC.
During a discussion with Messari CEO Ryan Selkis at the Messari Mainnet crypto conference, Armstrong had some strong words for next year’s US presidential candidates.
“In 2024 some people need to win or lose an election because of their stance on crypto,” he said.
In a post on X, Messari said that Armstrong has also pledged $1M to a crypto super PAC (political action committee), although it didn’t identify a specific organization.
Meanwhile, an attendant at the event quoted him as stating that “The Biden Administration has been really terrible for crypto.”
Although Armstrong hasn’t publicly stated his support for any US presidential candidate, prospective nominees in both parties have attempted to gain support from the US crypto sector.
Also speaking at the Messari event on Wednesday, September 20, Republican candidate Vivek Ramaswamy blasted regulatory agencies as a “cancer at the heart of our federal government.”
If he wins the presidency, Ramaswamy said he would reign in the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He also announced plans to publish a new crypto policy framework next month.
Meanwhile, Robert Kennedy Jr. has made crypto advocacy a key pillar of his attempt to with the Democratic nomination.
In August, Coinbase launched the “Stand with Crypto Alliance,” which it described as an “independent and on-chain advocacy organization.”
Upon inauguration, Stand with Crypto raised $215,000 minting NFTs. On its website, the organization lists Armstrong as its foremost donor thanks to a $9,963.47 donation.
Moreover, in recent days, the Coinbase CEO has been increasingly vocal in his endorsement of the alliance, sharing a post encouraging Americans to lobby their congressional representatives.
At the moment, there has been no public statement identifying Stand with Crypto as the Super PAC referenced by Messari’s tweet. However, the organization has been clear all along that it intends to fund political campaigns, and will use donations for electioneering purposes.
Ultimately, for industry stakeholders like Brian Armstrong, the more closely contested race for the Republican presidential nomination is likely to be of far more interest than Kennedy’s longshot bid for the presidency.
Nonetheless, away from the Whitehouse, winning Democrat support will be critical in advancing their interests. And in the House of Representatives, candidates with a wide spectrum of positions on crypto policy are running for both parties next November.
In the 2022 election cycle, crypto super PACs sponsored both Democratic and Republican candidates for the US Senate.
For example, one of the largest, GMI PAC, spent over 11M in the run-up to the November elections funding Web3 Forward and Crypto Innovation. The former financed Democratic candidates, while the latter focused on supporting pro-crypto and Republicans.
For crypto advocates like Armstrong, financing candidates on both sides of the aisle is a good way to maximize the chances of gaining majority support for pro-crypto legislation.
In fact, last year, crypto billionaires plowed huge sums into cross-party US political fundraising.
For example, Sam Bankman-Fried became GMI’s largest single donor after he wrote the PAC a $2M check in September. Meanwhile, the organization also reportedly received contributions from fellow FTX CEO Ryan Salame.
Earlier this month, Salame pleaded guilty to charges of making illegal campaign donations on behalf of FTX.