In 2022, the cryptocurrency industry set a new record by spending $21.55 million on lobbying efforts in Washington. This figure is more than double the amount of $8.29 million spent in 2021. The primary reason for this increased spending is the growing influence of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in the mainstream world. In this regard, Coinbase, the largest US-based cryptocurrency exchange, led the list of spenders on lobbying efforts. The increased lobbying spending by the crypto industry is indicative of its eagerness to have a more prominent voice in the regulatory environment, as well as to protect its interests from potential risks and threats. The fact that more than 50 players in the industry disclosed their lobbying expenditures to OpenSecrets highlights the importance of the cryptocurrency sector’s growing role in shaping policy decisions in the United States.
Crypto Industry Giants Spend Millions on Lobbying Efforts
According to the report, Coinbase was the top spender on lobbying, allocating approximately $3.4 million in 2022. The Blockchain Association, Crypto.com, Binance Holdings, and Ripple follow closely behind, with each spending around $1.9 million, $1.2 million, $1.1 million, and $1 million, respectively, on lobbying efforts. It is important to note that political donations, campaign contributions, and election financing are not included in the lobbying spending analysis, even though they can be used to establish relationships with policymakers.
Crypto Industry Lobbying Hits Record High Despite Failures
The crypto industry spent a record amount on lobbying, despite a string of high-profile failures. These included Terra’s stablecoin implosion, the collapse of FTX, and the failure of Genesis. However, the industry’s lobbying spending still pales in comparison to that of major tech and e-commerce companies. According to a report, Amazon and its subsidiaries spent $21.38 million in 2022 on lobbying, while Alphabet spent over $13 million on lobbying in the same year. Sam Bankman-Fried, the controversial founder of FTX, donated almost $40 million to political action committees and campaigns in 2021, with a significant portion going to the Democratic party and its candidates. Bankman-Fried was one of the top donors to Joe Biden’s successful 2020 presidential campaign.
FTX Requests Return of Donations by End of Month After Political Controversy
Back in December, Tesla CEO Elon Musk speculated that Sam Bankman-Fried could have donated as much as $1 billion to the Democratic Party, citing the fact that some of his political donations were not disclosed publicly. Such donations are legal thanks to the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case, which allows anonymous donations to political candidates. However, the new management of FTX has taken a different approach to political donations, asking recipients of donations made by the previous leadership, including Bankman-Fried, to return the funds by the end of the month. This move by FTX’s current management appears to be a response to the controversy surrounding the previous leadership’s political donations, which came under scrutiny following the collapse of FTX and Bankman-Fried’s fall from grace. The request for the return of donations also aligns with the growing call for transparency and accountability in the political donations process.
FTX Management Requests Return of Political Donations by Month-End
The new FTX management has made it clear that they want political figures and other recipients of donations made by Sam Bankman-Fried and other FTX executives to return the funds by the end of the month. According to the announcement, the recipients will have to repay the entire amount they received, regardless of whether they used it to make a payment to a third party, such as a charitable organization. The new management’s decision appears to be a direct response to the previous leadership’s controversial political donations, which came under scrutiny following the FTX collapse and Sam Bankman-Fried’s fall from grace. The move is also in line with growing calls for transparency and accountability in the political donations process.