Crypto cash flows into 2022 midterm election races

This year’s midterm elections aren’t just about red versus blue. Crypto investors are trying to turn politics orange. 

That’s the color adopted by bitcoin’s most ardent supporters, who have driven an influx of cash into campaigns across the country. 

Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of crypto exchange FTX, is the primary force behind the political action committee Protect Our Future. The group has raised $14 million — most of it from the billionaire Bankman-Fried — and could tip the scales in House races in Ohio and Oregon.

Other FTX executives are involved in GMI PAC, which has already brought in $6 million and plans to spend $20 million this cycle. HODLpac, which reported nearly $230,000 in contributions, rates candidates’ credibility on issues important to crypto investors.

Elections are a new arena for an industry built on distrust of government and decentralized control. But the battle over the federal infrastructure bill last summer — which included new IRS reporting requirements for the industry — galvanized crypto executives and enthusiasts alike. The industry quickly built up its lobbying machine on Capitol Hill, and it hopes to harness that same energy for the elections.  

“The crypto industry is proud to support elected officials who believe in the true potential of the crypto economy in the U.S.,” said Kristin Smith, executive director of the Blockchain Association, a crypto trade group. “And we’re not shy, as an industry, to say and support what we value, and that includes political giving.”

Pedestrians walk past a display of cryptocurrency Bitcoin on February 15, 2022 in Hong Kong, China.

Anthony Kwan | Getty Images

The primary election in Ohio on Tuesday will be one of the first tests of the industry’s influence. State Treasurer Josh Mandel is one of the leading contenders for the open Senate seat — and a strident bitcoin supporter.

Last year, he sold his stocks and instead put the money into cryptocurrency. He has a five-star rating from HODLpac and…

Read more at www.cnbc.com

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