Crypto's Political Power

Political mobilization

Parker Jay-Pachirat
December 14, 2021

Hi all, Julie here. 

Many of you will know me from Fintech Today. Others might be crypto purists and are only meeting me now. Either way, I'm happy to be here and hope you’ll want me back soon!

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The Mayors of NYC and Miami duking it out over crypto is just the beginning of how the industry will impact elections. In my recent interview with Bradley Tusk of Tusk Ventures, crypto’s impact on politics was a prevalent topic. Tusk served as the campaign manager of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's successful 2009 re-election bid. He was also an early political advisor to Uber. In our conversation, he emphasized how integral it is for the crypto community to realize the power they hold, and to mobilize on it. 

“If you can mobilize your customers to advocate politically you can be incredibly effective and I think the crypto community is well-positioned to do that.”

-Bradley Tusk

Up until now, the crypto industry is just as much to blame as Washington in how many things we’ve gotten “wrong.” While Washington needs to step up and start really trying to understand and properly regulate this space rather than being negative and passive, crypto has made the mistake of not realizing that you’re only taken seriously in politics and government if people believe you have the power to impact the next election. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I haven't seen any crypto lobby groups telling politicians that they won't get re-elected if they are negative on crypto. 

Tusk gave an example from his career of this happening. One of the first times he worked with a startup was when Uber was dealing with regulatory issues posed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission of New York City. He won in NY by convincing politicians that if they made it impossible for Uber to operate in the region, that their constituents would be upset enough to not reelect them. That’s the kind of power that the crypto industry is likely to need if it wants to win some of the battles it will continue to have. It’ll need to force both local and national politicians to pay attention as well as understand the costs of making it hard for crypto to operate in the US. In Tusk’s view, crypto is here to stay and we should do our best to make the US home for a lot of it. 

Expect to hear a lot more on this topic, as crypto hearings and meetings in DC are just getting started. John Collins of FS Vector and occasional writer for Fintech Today covered the hearings last week. From John:

“It would appear the message of crypto being important for a host of reasons is getting through. Perhaps to everyone’s credit, there seems to be an increasing understanding - and willingness to begin understanding - on the part of Congressional members and their staff. This is good!”

While the industry should be excited that progress is being made, the work is only beginning. 

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