New industry PAC to back pro-crypto candidates

A cryptocurrency industry group has formed a new political action committee at the end of the 2022 midterm election cycle with the hope of helping to form the next Congress’s view on the new industry.

The Blockchain Association, a group that represents more than 100 organizations in the industry, formed its PAC in September 2022 with the hope of influencing and, in future election cycles, funding candidates interested in the cryptocurrency industry.

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“If you are interested in having a conversation about crypto, we want to talk to you,” Executive Director Kristin Smith told the Washington Examiner.

Smith worked as an aide on Capitol Hill for 10 years, with a focus on technology policy. She founded the association by herself in 2018 and has quickly expanded it to represent an assortment of entities within the industry, including Circle, Ledger, Ripple, and several others.

The Blockchain Association PAC’s formation just last month means it won’t have any significant financial impact on the 2022 midterm elections, but it follows a massive surge in crypto lobbying and election funding.

Super PACs with ties to the cryptocurrency industry have invested tens of millions into the 2022 races. Crypto-adjacent PACs invested more than $31 million into the 2022 primaries as of July, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures reviewed by Roll Call. At least two PACs are founded by Sam Bankman-Fried, founder of the crypto exchange FTX.

Crypto lobbying has also been on the rise. The industry spent at least $6.8 million lobbying Congress in the second quarter of 2022, according to Roll Call.

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The 2022 surge in crypto-funded lobbying and PACs was inspired by several debates in 2021 around President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill and crypto-related provisions, according to Smith. Biden had proposed new crypto reporting requirements that would cause a large change for anyone involved in digital wallet development or crypto miners. “What we saw last year with the infrastructure fight last summer is that people … woke up to the fact that, ‘Oh, wow, there’s people are talking about crypto on the floor of the United States Senate. I need to figure out how to be a part of that process,'” Smith said.

When asked what races they were keeping an eye on, Smith mentioned the Senate campaigns of Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) — both, she said, have supported “good regulatory solutions for crypto.”