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Crypto Firms Increase Political Donations Amid Growing Regulatory Pressure in Washington

The crypto industry is stepping up its financial support to US politicians as sentiment in Washington turns more adverse toward digital assets.

Prominent companies like Coinbase, Circle, and a16z, alongside key figures in the venture capital and digital asset space, have boosted their contributions to elect pro-crypto legislators and influence pending bills in Congress ahead of the presidential elections next year. This heightened involvement includes substantial funding—$78 million—into Fairshake, a federal super PAC that supports “pro-crypto leadership.”

Faryar Shirzad, Coinbase’s chief policy officer, emphasized their commitment to depoliticizing crypto through lobbying efforts and grassroots work. This move marks a significant escalation for an industry that has traditionally spent modest amounts on political endeavors. Despite Coinbase projecting a $4 million spend on lobbying this year and Circle’s $760,000 since 2021, the mood in Washington is increasingly shaped by crypto critics.

Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic senator, has been notably vocal against digital assets, citing concerns about national security risks and illicit crypto activities. Her stance has been echoed by other lawmakers following controversies involving industry figures like Sam Bankman-Fried and issues surrounding companies like Binance.

The establishment of Fairshake partly stems from Congress’s failure to establish a clear regulatory framework for crypto, prompted by the industry’s recent scandals and ongoing legal challenges.

This intensified scrutiny extends beyond political lines, as seen with Warren’s collaboration with the financial sector and bipartisan efforts to align crypto regulations with anti-money laundering standards.

The upcoming elections are becoming a focal point for fundraising strategies, reflecting concerns about potential regulatory challenges should Democrats gain a significant majority. The increased lobbying efforts aim to influence the election outcome, ensuring the election of pro-crypto candidates across party lines.

The crypto industry faces mounting challenges and continues to grapple with evolving regulations, prompting a concerted effort to shape the political landscape and safeguard its interests in Washington.

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