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Coinbase has tried to portray its “Stand With Crypto” PAC as having broad grassroots support among over a million “crypto advocates”, and boasts on its homepage of nearly $180 million raised by these advocates.

Its first quarterly FEC filing reveals it has had only $13,690 in contributions from seven people over the most recent three-month period. Two of them work for Stand With Crypto and two of them work for Coinbase.

After my reporting about the falsified donations amount on the Stand With Crypto homepage, the PAC added a tooltip that acknowledges that $177.8 million of the “donations by crypto advocates” are actually the multi million dollar donations by a handful of big crypto companies and their executives.

However, they still claim that $1.48 million was raised by Stand With Crypto itself. Either they've raised 99% of their funds in the last 19 days, or they’re doing more funny business with the numbers they’re claiming.

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At this stage of the election cycle, cryptocurrency-focused PACs have contributed more overall to Democrats than to Republicans.

A bar chart showing $22 million in spending in favor of Democrats and $16.1 million in favor of Republicans

Most of this actually comes from opposition spending to Democrats. While many have assumed that crypto PACs’ opposition to Democrats was in support of Republicans, that’s not actually the case thus far. However, it's worth noting that in races where PACs have opposed candidates but have not supported any candidates (CA Senate primary, NY-16 Democratic primary), they are clearly more focused on ousting candidates they view as anti-crypto rather than on supporting any specific candidate.

I’ve laid this all out in a new page: https://www.followthecrypto.org/spending.

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Crossposting a comment I made on HackerNews about Follow the Crypto, since I'm seeing a lot of this kind of whataboutism:

The real story here is how much power individuals have over our political landscape. George Soros, for example, has injected more than $125M into the midterm race in 2022[1]. To be clear, this is not a partisan issue; the Kochs raised over $70M last year[2].

I fully agree with you that the broader problem is Citizens United and the ability for corporations and the super wealthy to pour this much money into politics. In fact, I mention this here: FAQ.

I think projects like mine would be extremely valuable for all industries, and I'm enormously grateful to groups like OpenSecrets that do excellent work making a far broader swath of the data more legible. But I am one person without the research team, time, or funding that would be necessary to analyze the data this deeply across industries, and so I focus on crypto (the subject of much of my research and writing).

The code is all open source, and I would be delighted if other projects like this one sprung up. It seems it would be a bit more productive to actually shine a light all the kinds of spending that happen throughout industries and across individuals, rather than using that other spending as a sort of whataboutist argument to dismiss projects like this one that (necessarily) focus on a subset of spending.

If you want to be critical of super PACs, crypto spending is literally a drop in the bucket and completely missing the forest for the trees. There is a story here, but crypto ain't it.

As this project highlights, crypto is far from a "drop in the bucket" when it comes to super PAC fundraising this cycle. The industry has dramatically ramped up its spending compared to previous election years, which is a large part of why I felt it was important to keep an eye on the spending.

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Follow the Crypto

It’s finally time to release my newest project: FollowTheCrypto.org.

This website provides a real-time lens into the cryptocurrency industry’s efforts to influence 2024 elections in the United States.

A screenshot of the front page of FollowTheCrypto.org, showing total amounts raised by crypto-currency focused PACs ($203 million) and amounts spent ($38 million). There are also graphs showing expenditures by political party, and expenditures by PAC. There is a list of the top elections influenced by crypto industry money, of the most highly-funded super PACs overall, and of recent expenditures by crypto-focused committees.

I have been working on this for the past two months, after growing increasingly concerned about the influence this industry is trying to exert. Did you know crypto companies have spent more this cycle than the oil or pharmaceutical industries, despite being a small fraction of the size?

A bar chart showing the amount of election spending by sector. Data: Crypto  $203,000,000,All health  $193,706,986,Communications  $178,671,462,Lawyers & lobbyists $172,810,610,All energy  $152,567,769,Labor $120,230,704,Transportation  $98,461,871,Construction  $85,162,003,Agribusiness  $84,400,550,Defense $25,445,961

There is more to come, including a bot that will post real-time updates about contributions or expenditures, which you can follow in advance at @followthecrypto . You can also learn more in my announcement post over at Citation Needed.

Please share widely! And, if you don’t already, consider supporting my work. This kind of independent research is what I do full-time, entirely thanks to support from people like you. https://www.mollywhite.net/support/

Posted:

Sentencing dates have been set for FTX's Nishad Singh and Gary Wang. Singh is scheduled to be sentenced on October 30, and Wang on November 20.