After last summer's battle over the crypto provision in the infrastructure bill, Congress seems aware of the power, passion -- and let's face it, the money -- of the crypto community.
That may be why a whole slew of candidates running for Congress are running on pro-Bitcoin, pro-crypto, pro-Web3 stances. Some have done NFT drops to fundraise, almost all take crypto donations, and all see possibilities in the technology to bring about positive change -- and probably, jobs to the constituents they hope to represent. Here's a breakdown of why they are in favor of the technology.
Running for: House Rep. for Ohio's 13th district
Crypto stance: The host of the Decrypt Daily podcast hasn't laid out any policy positions on bitcoin or crypto, but Diemer has tweeted that he's "been educating in #bitcoin since 2017" and that he believes "nurturing crypto technology absolutely must become a bi-partisan cause." He's also said that he views Bitcoin as an inflation hedge: "With unchecked inflation, saving your money should be so much easier to do, and #Bitcoin makes that possible." He also seems eager to bring the industry, and its economic benefits, to Ohio, and warns that if the US doesn't lead the way with the industry "we can fall way behind. Let's not screw this up."
Running for: US Senator in Ohio
Accepts crypto donations? No
Crypto stance: Harper, a former senior advisor at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, says that the government should focus more on the scams and fraud in the traditional financial system, because the magnitude is so much greater. She wonders if web3 can "create a better financial system? A world w/o unnecessary overdraft fees & where identity is verified by something more reliable than Equifax or a bank?" She views the decentralized, transparent features of blockchain technology as a way to protect against the "predatory and illegal" practices by traditional financial institutions.
Running for: House Rep. for California's 41st District
Crypto stance: Kurani launched the first NFT drop for a federal candidate to help solve a problem she sees with traditional fundraising, which requires candidates to spend hours a week calling potential donors. She says crypto can help "more people than ever before to not just be consumers but owners of their property, assets, identities, including art." She wants to be part of "a more crypto-literate Congress."
Running for: District of Columbia candidate for US House of Representatives
Crypto stance: Hamilton says she's "passionate about using Crypto and Blockchain as innovative policy tools for sustainability and economic justice." The "Andrew Yang alumna" is interested in using crypto for universal basic income projects, remittances, and disrupting the "broken" financial system to help give everyday people, rather than corporations, more control over their money. She also sees the potential for blockchain technology to track the provenance of products to help consumers short for ethically produced products. She has said the current approach to crypto regulation shows that "leaders appear to be operating from a place of fear & scarcity mentality."
Running for: US Senator in Ohio
Crypto stance: Mandel took heat for a tweet that seemed to imply that pro-Bitcoin states are the same as "states that submit to the authority of Almighty God." But other tweets of his on the topic of Bitcoin have been more similar to the kinds typically seen on witter, such as, "Inflation is theft. #bitcoin" or "Separation of Money & State. #Bitcoin". He's also expressed the view that bitcoin is about "power to the people." He's opposed to a US central bank digital currency and in favor of the US becoming the "Bitcoin capital of the world."
Running for: US Senator in Arizona
Crypto stance: Masters, who coauthored Peter Thiel's book Zero to One, dropped a collection of 99 NFTs of Zero to One to raise money for his campaign. He advocates that the US government buy a strategic reserve of bitcoin and criticized Senator Elizabeth Warren for her critiques of how energy-intensive Bitcoin is by saying "her eco argument is fake" and that she has a "Big Tech mentality," which is "all about control, whereas crypto is about decentralization."
Running for: House Rep. for California's 32nd District
Crypto stance: Rhodes is running against quite possibly the most anti-crypto member of Congress, Rep. Brad Sherman, who has called for bans on crypto. In an interview on my podcast, Unchained, Rhodes says she believes that members of Congress should represent the views of their constituents. In her campaigning, she has not found anyone in her district that believes cryptocurrency should be banned. She also says she believes Bitcoin is a bipartisan issue and that being in favor of it is a pro-innovation stance.
Running for: House Rep. of California's 18th Congressional District
Crypto stance: Tanaka previously started Pika Group, a web3 startup creating automated day trading algorithms. He says he believes the US has "a responsibility to cultivate this new technology and ... integrate it into our society." He cites the benefits of crypto as user autonomy, protection from inflation, accessibility and greater economic efficiency. He supports allowing taxes and fees to be paid to government agencies in crypto, making Bitcoin legal tender and establishing a uniform regulatory framework for crypto in the US.
Running for: House Rep for Oregon's 6th Congressional District
Crypto stance: West, who says he would be the "first DeFi dev in Congress," believes crypto is "a foundational technological development on-par with the internet." Although he's concerned about how energy intensive crypto can be, he says, "It’s clear to me that blockchain technologies, cryptocurrency included, can be an integral part of our economic future." He sees potential in NFTs and crypto's ability to bank the unbanked, plus says that the emerging technology "requires a careful and skilled hand in crafting regulations and laws surrounding it" and that "we need folks with DeFi experience in government."
(Cover Photo of Morgan Harper by Duane Prokop/Getty Images for Thinx, Inc)