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Stand with Crypto Alliance Attempts to Mobilise Crypto Owners

Coinbase's advocacy group recently reached 400,000 sign-ups. Together with Super PAC Fairshake, they've raised $86 million to lobby for industry interests and support the 'right' candidates in the upcoming elections.

The Stand with Crypto Alliance is an independent advocacy group for the crypto community that calls for sensible crypto policy from the U.S. government and urges the crypto community to engage directly in the legislative process. It was launched by Coinbase in August 2023. Earlier that year, Coinbase also initiated a  pro-crypto NFT Campaign that proved extremely successful and on-chain petition.

The Alliance has 13 industry partners, including Paradigm, Coinbase, Paxos, and Gemini, making it a fairly robust, industry-wide group. Most recently, the Stand With Crypto Alliance passed 400,000 sign-ups, and every day since then, it has welcomed over 1,000 new crypto advocates. While the number may sound impressive, it's really only a small fraction of the 50-100 million people who own cryptocurrency (in the U.S. alone).

Alongside the sign-ups, the movement has gathered about $86 million in donations, a massive $85 million of which was funneled into Fairshake. Fairshake is a federal super political action committee, and its affiliates are mainly sponsored by industry leaders rather than concerned citizens. Coinbase reportedly put $24.5 million in, while Andreessen Horowitz and Ripple each gave at least $20 million for this cause. Coinbase's CEO Brian Armstrong, who is one of the most significant figures in crypto lobbying and is apparently trying to become the primary mediator between the industry and U.S. lawmakers and regulators, personally contributed $1 million to Fairshake. The assets are currently used to pay for pro-crypto politicians’ advertisement campaigns, namely to House Financial Services Committee Chair Patrick McHenry and Majority Whip Tom Emmer. 

The Alliance's website provides Americans with information on how to interact with the country’s government for the sake of the crypto community. The website lists U.S. political figures divided into two camps, pro- and anti-crypto, and shares information on important related events and pieces of legislation. It also guides Americans on how to prepare a letter to their representatives (Congresspersons) urging their support for the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act Bill, aimed at defining the SEC’s and the CFTC’s authorities and duties connected to digital assets, excluding stablecoins. The bill introduced last Summer suggests that the SEC must be in charge of a digital asset if the blockchain on which it runs is functional but not decentralized. The CFTC must regulate an asset if the associated blockchain, or digital ledger, is functional and decentralized. It also proposes joint rulemaking between the two agencies and the establishment of a Joint CFTC-SEC Advisory Committee on Digital Assets. 

“FIT21 sets foundational rules for crypto that are pro-consumer and pro-job creation. It will protect 52 million Americans who own crypto and create millions of jobs in a critical technology sector that impacts our national security...  I am asking you to support the Bill so it can be brought to a floor vote this session.” - a sample of the draft email.

The Alliance also tries to engage the public by offering them collectibles. It is possible to get a free NFT for registration to vote this year and mine a collectible commemorating the launch of the Stand With Crypto Alliance for 0.00435 ETH ($14), which so far has been done by 1,100 people.

Off-line, the Alliance is getting out on the streets to make themselves heard. On the eve of Super Tuesday, the 'crypto voters' gathered in a club and made a nice show on Hollywood Boulevard with a fake movie ad depicting the anti-crypto Senate candidate Katie Porter as a villain. The Fairshake reportedly spent $10 million on ads opposing her run for the U.S. Senate in California.

The results of the upcoming elections could significantly impact the crypto landscape in the U.S. It is not clear yet if 'Stand with Crypto' might indeed influence the results. While we can see some signs that crypto industry representatives might finally force regulators to reckon with them, there is an opinion that so-called 'crypto voters' who cast ballots only based on crypto-related criteria simply do not exist, as other political and economic suggestions of the candidates are much more important for the general public. Still, it is interesting to observe how the industry is trying to develop a dialogue with the authorities by traditional methods instead of switching jurisdictions.