Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong, announced on Twitter that the company would be integrating new crypto policy features directly into its app. The latest addition allows users to look up their home state and view how their legislators rank on friendliness to pro-crypto policy. This is an explicit move by Coinbase to educate and mobilize its user base to become involved in politics.
This tool only ranks current elected officials in the U.S. House and Senate. The team has set out goals to expand to other countries and include candidates running for office. The end game for the group is to help pro-crypto candidates garner campaign donations from the crypto community, in crypto. This release comes on the heels of Coinbase’s announcement to build a voter registration portal.
For example, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Cynthia Lummis, who have worked together on a bipartisan crypto bill, were both given an “A” grade. Ted Cruz and Ron Wyden also received top grades. At the same time, Representative Brad Sherman and Senator Elizabeth Warren both received an F score. Warren is an outspoken crypto critic who has repeatedly voiced her concerns about the cryptocurrency industry. Particularly on issues such as using crypto to avoid sanctions and crypto mining’s environmental effects.
An announcement on Coinbase’s website from August 25, 2022, entitled “Why We’re Launching a Voter Registration & Education Initiative,” marked the company’s first step in political engagement. Here Coinbase links to their dedicated voter registration portal and additional resources for users to better understand how policy decisions impact the broader crypto community. It is not surprising that Coinbase launched all these initiatives in time for the U.S. midterm elections.
As the centralized crypto exchange with the most extensive U.S. customer base, Coinbase has much to gain by influencing crypto policy. They aren’t the only game in town getting in on politics. FTX’s CEO and founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, has visited the White House and testified before congress to support pro-crypto legislation. He has even upped the ante by indicating his desire to make $1 billion in political donations for the 2024 U.S. political races.
Some have come out to criticize Coinbase for its new political stance. Notably, CEO Brian Armstrong banned debate over politics and social issues among its employees in 2020. He claimed that these discussions were a distraction to the company’s mission. Of course, the caveat allowed for discussion related to legislation around the crypto industry.
The scorecard comes from Crypto Action Network. A new 501(c)(4) that has reportedly spent nearly six figures to promote cryptocurrency and urge lawmakers to support pro-crypto policies. The donors’ detail behind this group is unknown, which is a feature of 501(c)(4) ‘s as opposed to the more well-known 501(c)(3). In addition to being on Coinbase’s app, this scorecard will be advertised on multiple websites and apps.