Crypto adoption crosses party lines amid Washington’s political deadlock
Crypto’s legitimacy and adoption have increased in recent years, and along with the uptick in use, the tech has become a topic of political divisiveness, resulting in a perception of partisanship — especially in the United States.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Jonathan Jachym, the Global Head of Policy at U.S.-based crypto exchange Kraken, said he doesn’t think crypto is partisan and that the situation is far more nuanced.
He says crypto tech is fundamentally about financial empowerment, the ownership of assets and the decentralization of power structures.
“These are non-partisan issues which legislators across the globe face daily as their constituents navigate the challenges of the existing financial system,” Jachym said.
“Technology can be used to build a fairer, trustless, apolitical financial system, which is more efficient, transparent and secure for everyone. Now is the time to embrace crypto,” he added.
Nearly even split of crypto support among politicians and voters
According to Coinbase’s Legislative Portal, which tracks U.S. politicians who have made positive statements about crypto, there is a healthy number of crypto supporters in Congress on both sides of the political aisle, with 26 Republicans and 22 Democrats in the House of Representatives voicing support.
In the Senate, it’s slightly skewed toward the right, with 24 Republicans and only 11 Democrats making positive statements about crypto. Support for crypto among voters also appears to be a close split between the left, right and independents.
According to a Feb. 27 national survey conducted by business intelligence company Morning Consult, 22% of Democrats, 18% of Republicans and 22% of Independents said they own crypto.
Jachym believes bad actors have sown division in the space, but overall he says crypto itself remains an inclusive, transformative technology with the potential to improve lives.
“This is why, regardless of the political consensus of their populous, many developed economies are advancing bespoke regulatory regimes for crypto assets,” he said, adding, “For example, at the state level within the United States, both ‘red’ and ‘blue’ states have made meaningful progress toward workable frameworks for crypto.”
Bipartisan support for crypto already happening
There have already been some examples of bipartisanship among politicians with forming the Congressional Blockchain Caucus on Sept. 26, 2016, through cooperation by Democrats and Republicans.
Related: Congress may be ‘ungovernable,’ but US could see crypto legislation in 2023
The blockchain caucus was created to study blockchain tech and the role Congress can play in its development, and according to its website, the current four co-chairs are two Republicans and two Democrats.
Both parties also appear to be happy accepting monetary donations from the crypto industry.
In the wake of FTX’s collapse in 2022, it came to light that the exchange’s CEO Sam Bankman-Fried had made political donations to Democrats, but he also implied in a later interview that Republicans had received roughly the same amount in “dark” donations.
1) I was a significant donor in both D and R primaries.
Supporting constructive candidates across the aisle to prevent pandemics and bring a bipartisan climate to DC.
And working with them to support permissionless finance.
— SBF (@SBF_FTX) November 5, 2022
Bradley Allgood, the co-founder and CEO of U.S.-based blockchain development and fintech company Fluent Finance, told Cointelegraph that he doesn’t consider crypto a partisan issue but does believe the tech has been drawn into political discussions and power plays.
“A fundamental aspect of crypto — its inherent political neutrality and its role in fostering innovation — has found resonance in certain political factions, notably among those who favor deregulation and open markets,” he said.
“Contrarily, some elements of the current administration and regulators have adopted an adversarial stance toward crypto, purportedly to protect traditional institutions and maintain control over monetary mechanisms,” Allgood added,
However, Allgood says he firmly believes that the tech and the ideals it represents, such as decentralization, transparency and individual freedom, are far removed from the political squabbles of our time. He said:
“I must emphasize: each individual cryptocurrency is in and of itself the product of human intention and does carry inherent political bias.”
“The policies and parameters which govern individual cryptocurrencies — for example, how consensus is achieved on-chain, how validators are rewarded for their services, and inflation schedules — attract certain types of users and repel others,” he added.
Critics of crypto are united as well
Critics of the crypto industry also come from both sides of politics. Democrats such as California Representative Brad Sherman and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren are two of the loudest voices criticizing the industry.
When you’ve made enemies with the bankers and Elizabeth Warren, you know you’re doing the right thing. https://t.co/w2WflrkJOu
— Tyler Winklevoss (@tyler) July 28, 2023
They are not alone, though, with Republicans such as Kansas Senator Roger Marshall co-sponsoring Warren’s bill demanding more transparency in digital asset transactions and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham throwing his support behind reintroducing the bill.
Speaking to Cointelegraph, Aharon Miller, co-founder and chief operating officer of peer-to-peer trading platform Oobit, said crypto challenges the traditional financial system, so it’s natural for people with different political beliefs to have differing opinions on it.
He says crypto isn’t just for one political camp; it’s a technology that goes beyond political boundaries and has the potential to impact everyone, bringing perks such as financial inclusion, lower transaction costs and more transparency to the table.
Magazine: Blockchain games aren’t really decentralized… but that’s about to change
Miller characterizes crypto as a “game-changer that can revolutionize finance,” which is why he says regulators, policymakers, and the industry must work together to find the right balance between protecting consumers and fostering innovation.
“We need an environment that encourages responsible innovation so we can unlock crypto’s full potential,” he said.
“The more we understand the real-world advancements facilitated by cryptocurrency, the better equipped we are to address practical and accessibility concerns, thus promoting broader adoption.”