Brian Armstrong, the chief executive officer of United States-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, has renewed calls for crypto users to “elect pro-crypto candidates.”
In a March 23 Twitter Spaces discussion, Armstrong said Coinbase would be making efforts to organize the roughly 50 million U.S. citizens who use crypto into a political force. His statement followed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issuing a Wells Notice to the crypto exchange, suggesting a potential enforcement action.
“What we’re going to do is start putting out content where people can contact their congressman, donate to pro-crypto candidates, show up at town halls, make your voice heard,” said the Coinbase CEO. “We are going to elect pro-crypto candidates in this country to make sure that our success is ensured.”
Today at 1pm PT! Join @brian_armstrong, @iampaulgrewal, @faryarshirzad and @chrislehane for a conversation about the recent SEC decision to enforce rules that don’t exist. If the SEC wants to throw the rulebook at crypto, they should have a rulebook.https://t.co/7kgshcrmBy
— Coinbase (@coinbase) March 23, 2023
Armstrong’s call to action was the latest move by the Coinbase CEO representing a change in his stance on mixing business and politics. In September 2020, he wrote a blog post claiming the exchange should not advocate “for any particular causes or candidates internally that are unrelated to our mission because it is a distraction from our mission.”
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Since that 2020 post and following its initial public offering in April 2021, Coinbase executives have openly become more involved in U.S. politics. Armstrong has met with U.S. lawmakers and regulators, and chief policy officer Faryar Shirzad announced the creation of a voter registration portal in August 2022. In February, Coinbase called on its users to “advance pro-crypto policy in all 435 Congressional Districts across the U.S.” with the launch of the Crypto435 campaign.
"When you think about 20% of Americans being in crypto [...] These are real voters that can make the difference if they show up to vote," said Coinbase’s head of U.S. policy Kara Calvert.
It’s unclear if the SEC intends to pursue enforcement action against Coinbase despite the Wells Notice. On Twitter Spaces, Armstrong renewed calls for listeners to support a petition to the financial regulator arguing that staking would not qualify as a security subject to its enforcement.
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This is a developing story, and further information will be added as it becomes available.