The US will hold mid-term elections this year, during which 435 members of the House and one-third of the members of the Senate, as well as several governors and state legislatures, will be elected. To support crypto-friendly candidates, Coinbase has set up a PAC, or Political Action Committee. PACs are committees that raise funds to donate to candidates.
In addition, any fundraising organisation for political candidates that operates nationwide in the US becomes a PAC if it receives or spends more than $1,000, and requires registration with the Federal Election Commission.
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In fact, the FEC officially registered the Coinbase Innovation PAC on 7 February.
The document states that Coinbase, Inc. is Affiliated Committees/Organizations, while the committee’s two key figures, Alesia Haas and Kara Calvert, are respectively Coinbase’s chief financial officer and the company’s head of U.S. policy.
Coinbase, the 2018 and 2022 PACs
The curious thing is that Coinbase had already tried this in 2018, when it registered its first PAC, but closed it the following year because it had not received any funds.
However, 2018 was a very different year than 2022, both because the last big speculative bubble had burst and cryptocurrency prices were falling so sharply, and because mass adoption had not yet happened. Now, however, cryptocurrencies are talked about everywhere, even at the Super Bowl, and there are now several hundred million users worldwide.
In the US, for example, more than 12% of all those who have access to the Internet are said to own cryptocurrencies.
Lobbying by Coinbase
It is not yet clear who the funds raised by Coinbase’s PAC will go to, but a spokesperson for the company told Politico that they intend to be bipartisan, and support crypto-forward lawmakers aligned with their mission to promote economic freedom for Americans.
Elections will be held in early November, so there is still plenty of time to raise and distribute funds.
Moreover, the exchange had already started to do something last year to try and influence US politics, concerned about the possible impact of any lawmakers opposed to cryptocurrencies. Indeed, together with Jack Dorsey’s Square, now Block, it founded the Crypto Council for Innovation to facilitate dialogue with regulators and lawmakers.
Politico also reports that Coinbase spent $1.5 million lobbying at the federal level last year.
At this point, it’s safe to imagine that the newly founded PAC could soon become a multi-million dollar committee.