From IRS’ continued double taxation, SEC’s bullying, ever increasing burdens on start-ups which need to navigate a balkanized regulatory system, the continued boycotting of America by some crypto entrepreneurs, the continued ignorance in Congress of what any of this blockchain stuff is, and an on-going ever growing list of matters that affect this space, this mid-term election is more important to what we’ve called the blockchain constituency than any other.
Last year we declared global politics has descended on this space. This year we can say national politics has too.
In either case, no one asked us whether we want it to do so, but as this space moves forward with great speed, there are some big decisions that have been made and continue to be made which forces us to engage the political process.
How, is a big question. In particular, do we choose left or right, or do we discard that distinction, at least for now, and focus solely on their approach towards this space?
We have said long ago, where global politics is concerned, this space has no choice but to be neutral. We’d argue the same applies in national politics.
Although it is easy to see Republicans as naturally friendly, Trump’s disastrous appointment of Jay Clayton disproved that proposition. It is tempting to punish him by courting the left, and some of that has to be done not as a way to get back at Clayton, but because Democrats have been misled.
Early rhetoric by proponents of this space that blockchain tech is somehow libertarian or conservative may have naturally led to a colder reception by Democrats. Yet that early rhetoric has nothing to do with the technology itself, or the substance of it.
Decentralized Autonomous Organizations are in effect co-operatives of sorts. Increasing financial access is a great equalizer. Keeping banks accountable should please both the left and the right. Tearing down global corporate monopolies should have plenty on the left very excited.
Democrats would be very mistaken to see this space as somehow on the right of the political spectrum. It is very much not. It is very much outside of politics, or at least outside of the left and right distinction as it covers both.
That means we do not really have much choice but to be neutral, with our analysis so having to focus on candidates’ approach towards blockchain tech, rather than party affiliations.
That’s, of course, if it is reciprocated. If a party, quite unwisely, starts being hostile towards this space as a matter of policy, then of course we’d have no choice but to choose their competitors.
That hasn’t happened so far and we don’t think it will, so allowing us to focus on how the specific representatives or candidates approach this space.
Those are the members of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus. Some of them are Republicans, some of them are Democrats, making it a bipartisan bridge united by a focus on a friendly legislative approach towards this space.
We’d very much like Brian Forde, running as a Democrat, to join them. He has been involved with this space since at least 2014 and has attracted backing from a number of individuals working in this industry, including Fred Wilson.
“He’s walking the walk and speaking our language,” says Stan Miroshnik, chief executive officer of the Element Group which advises on token sales and provides other digital assets management services. Forde, for his part, says:
“You have to protect consumer rights and consumer safety. But we also need to allow for innovation. You want to create ‘regulatory sandboxes’ for these emerging technologies to grow.
My concern is that when you apply strict regulations to small startups, they’ll be forced to apply so many resources to compliance that they won’t have the resources to build and innovate.”
In contrast, Dave Min, endorsed by the Democratic Party machine in California, says “Criminals and drug dealers utilize Bitcoin to make purchases through black market.”
How the election will go is unclear, with the primary election to be held tomorrow on June the 5th followed by the mid-term elections in November.
A significant vote for Forde would show, even if he loses, that there is a political market for blockchain friendly approaches. Other candidates, therefore, may well start changing their tune in future elections.
As such, in Orange County’s 45th Congressional District we’d say vote for Forde regardless of his other policies because they are unlikely to have significant effect, while how Congress approaches blockchain may well have generational long term effects.
In any event, whatever you do, do not vote for Min. We have no view on the other Democratic main contender Katie Porter, or the sitting Republican Congresswoman Mimi Walters.
New York’s 21st District has a Democrat primary contender, Patrick Nelson, that accepted bitcoin through BitPay until the latter suspended operations pending a BitLicense issue. Nelson at the time said:
“We’re a 21st Century campaign and as such we embrace new technologies like #bitcoin.”
Elise Stefanik, the current sitting Republican in NY 21, however, has a strong chance of re-election according to pundits. She does not seem to have made any comments regarding this space, so we’re neutral on her candidacy.
Missouri has Republican candidate Austin Petersen who accepts bitcoin, but the Republican establishment is backing Josh Hawley who, according to a poll, is some 30 points ahead of Petersen.
Hawley is in a close race against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill. Neither seems to have made any comments regarding this space, so we’re neutral on both.
California’s 52nd District has Michael Allman running as a Republican candidate. Allman pledges direct democracy through a blockchain based voting platform.
The Democrat incumbent Scott Peterson, however, is strongly favored. He does not appear to have made any comments about this space, so we’re neutral.
One race where candidates’ approach towards this space may make a difference is Arizona. The republican candidate Kelli Ward accepts bitcoin donations.
She is in a close race with another Republican candidate Martha McSally. Whoever wins will then face Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), the presumptive Democratic candidate.
Neither McSally nor Sinema has made any comments regarding this space, so without considering any of the other policies we’d vote for Ward.
Senator Rand Paul in Kentucky of course started accepting bitcoin in 2014. He has a 15 point lead and would have our vote.
In a different sort of race to be held on June 5 for California’s governor primary elections, this space has a front runner, Democrat Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who according to a poll has a commanding lead with 33%.
As far back as 2014, Newsom said: “I should promote the technology ever so subtly by saying I’ll accept bitcoin in the campaign.” We’d, thus, think he would be friendly to this space and so would have our vote.
There may be some we have missed, in which case do comment below or email and we’ll update, but the above diverse range of crypto friendly candidates clearly shows this space has some political pull in congress and in governorships.
All the members of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus are friendly to this space you’d think, so we’d vote for them in any election. Where any blockchain friendly candidate has a chance of winning, we’d vote for them.
If their chances are effectively hopeless, we’ll leave it to you to decide whether you wish to nonetheless show there is a blockchain political market or whether you want to pick a candidate who may be friendly in other ways.
Mid-term elections usually have a low turn-out, so blockchain votes may even decide in some cases as you’d think this space would be more incentivized to go out and vote ahead of what may be some legislative battles.
Repealing the Securities Act would be our top wish, or, alternatively, raising the crowdfunding exception to $20 million. One regulator, rather than a balkanized approach of red tape upon red tape, would be very useful. Repealing IRS’s double taxation would be top priority. A general “do no harm” approach would be best.
We may get some of that if Congress becomes more crypto friendly, so go out and vote, and vote for candidates friendly to this space. In some cases regardless of whether they have any chance of winning, and in all cases regardless of their other policies since their effects would be short term at best, if any, while where blockchain is concerned they be more far reaching and structural.