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How Bitcoin and Crypto Could Influence the Midterm Elections

Of all the issues likely to influence the midterm elections on November 8, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency may be one of the most surprising. Yes, crypto has increasingly entered the public consciousness over the past couple of years, yet a perception remains that it’s somehow marginal, restricted to users on the edge of the mainstream. This, however, is a view that has been flatly contradicted by a recent report from venture capital firm Haun Ventures, which concluded that cryptocurrency owners may have a decisive impact on the outcome of votes in four swing states.

Of particular interest in this report was the finding that, in these four swing states, 18% of voters own cryptocurrencies, while 55% would be less likely to vote for candidates who oppose policies supporting the development of Web3. However, the voting intention of holders isn’t the only way that crypto may influence midterm results, with cryptocurrency firms and organizations also donating to lobbying groups and election campaigns.

And going forward, November’s midterms herald an era where crypto will increasingly shape the political landscape in the United States and beyond. Ultimately, this is bullish for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, since it means that politicians will increasingly push legislation that nurtures the industry.

Voting on crypto

Survey Shows That Crypto Owners May Swing the Midterm Elections

For its survey, Haun Ventures polled 800 voters in the swing states of New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. It selected these states insofar as they’re likely to see competitive Senate races, as well as competitive votes for House districts.

As the table below shows, significant percentages in all four states own cryptocurrencies. On its own, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee any particular political viewpoint, but it does at least suggest that voters will tend to favor candidates who themselves favor the cryptocurrency market and industry.

Survey Shows That Crypto Owners May Swing the Midterm Elections.

Source: Haun Ventures

Supporting this view is the finding that most voters in the four swing states would be turned off by candidates with an anti-cryptocurrency and Web3 stance.

Graph showing disinclination to vote for candidates that oppose Web3 development. 2

Source: Haun Ventures

Another interesting finding is that the voters polled by Haun showed no clear preference for either the Democrats or the Republicans, with an average breakdown (across the four states) of 37% leading towards the Democrats, 30% supporting the Republicans, and 31% having no preference. This is significant to the extent that it suggests voters within these swing states could (as the word ‘swing’ suggests) go either way with their votes, depending on whether candidates come out in favor of cryptocurrencies and Web3.

Taking Ohio as an example, Republican Senate candidate JD Vance is known as a bitcoin holder and proponent of cryptocurrency, with Politico declaring that the “crypto industry is a big winner” after the venture capitalist became the GOP’s candidate. Of his various pronouncements on crypto, he tweeted in February of this year that “crypto is taking off” in part because of the ability of governments to freeze bank accounts (this was in reference to Canada’s trucker protests).

By contrast, his opponent, the Democrat Tim Ryan, has not taken a position either for or against crypto, with his silence on the matter potentially leading some cryptocurrency-holding voters to prefer Vance as a result.

Of course, this is mostly speculation. It needs to be highlighted that Haun’s survey didn’t attempt to gauge the priority voters placed on crypto- and Web3-related issues. Because of this, there remains every chance that pro-crypto voters may still vote for anti-crypto (or crypto-neutral) candidates, assuming that the latter propose policies they value more than supporting the cryptocurrency sector.

But even with this caveat, Haun’s survey is significant, since it suggests that cryptocurrency holders are becoming an increasingly large constituency within US politics. So even if they don’t have a decisive impact this time around, it’s only a matter of time before they do swing local and national elections.

Crypto Steps Up Its Lobbying Game

It’s not only crypto-owning voters who may help to sway the midterms in November, but also cryptocurrency firms and organizations themselves. As we’ve reported before, lobbying by the industry has become relatively common in recent years, yet it’s with November’s elections that it may have its biggest impact yet.

Specifically, crypto-focused political action committees (PAC) have been successful in raising millions of dollars over the past few months. Protect Our Future, for instance, had injected more than $24 million into the Democratic primaries for the midterms, as of August 30 of this year. While it focuses predominantly on pandemic prevention, it has been bankrolled almost entirely by FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried, implying that its benefactor may expect some politicians to begin viewing crypto more positively as a result.

Likewise, HODLpac raised nearly $250,000 in the first half of this year, according to filings. It also spent over $46,000 on a variety of politicians and campaigns over the same period, while it runs a ranking system on its website whereby representatives and senators are scored according to their friendliness towards crypto.

Such a system is intended to inform cryptocurrency advocates of who in US politics they need to pressure and/or support, and it’s interesting to note that, following in HODLpac’s footsteps, Coinbase rolled out a very similar system in September.

Brian Armstrong tweet.

Source: Twitter

Not only does Coinbase now let its US-based users check out the crypto-friendliness of their representatives, but it’s also a big lobbying force and donor itself, having spent $1.3 million in the second quarter of 2022 on lobbying, as well as $2.4 million in the first half of the year.

As a whole, the US cryptocurrency sector spent $6.8 million on lobbying in Q2 2022, representing a 31% increase compared to the previous quarter. This not only shows that the industry was (and is) gearing up for the midterms, but that its clout within Washington is steadily growing.

In light of this, it really is only a matter of time before Capitol Hill makes a habit of taking the views of the cryptocurrency industry — and cryptocurrency holders — into account when formulating legislation. And given that the industry has spent so long being fearful of regulation, such a development can only be a good thing.

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CryptoVantage Author Simon Chandler

About the Author

Simon Chandler

Simon Chandler is a journalist based in London. He writes about technology, markets and politics, and has bylines for Forbes, Digital Trends, CCN, Wired, TechCrunch, the Verge, the Sun, the New Internationalist, and TruthOut, among many others. His Twitter handle is @_simonchandler_

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