Stand With Crypto Sets Up Election War Chest, Backs Candidates Seeking Open Seats

Stand With Crypto – an advocacy group started by Coinbase last year – will start gathering cash from more than 400,000 members to give to favored congressional candidates.

AccessTimeIconMay 10, 2024 at 10:15 a.m. UTC
  • Crypto advocacy group Stand With Crypto is opening its own Political Action Committee ahead of this year's elections.
  • The group's own members will support the PAC, though they're limited to $5,000 contributions.

The fast-growing organization of cryptocurrency supporters, Stand With Crypto, is getting into campaign financing with the opening of its own political action committee (PAC) that will make direct donations to endorsed congressional candidates, said Chief Strategist Nick Carr. Its opening slate of endorsements will feature five candidates seeking open seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, though the money will have to wait. Stand With Crypto's effort is an "associated PAC," meaning it's supported by the nonprofit group's own members, and each of them will be limited to $5,000 contributions. Once they start adding cash to the PAC coffers, then the committee can start making direct donations to candidates as they face the latter months of the primaries and the big contest of November's general election, the group announced Friday.

"I think it's incredible to see the amount of growth in such a short time span of Stand With Crypto," Carr said in an interview with CoinDesk. His organization, started in August 2023, now reports more than 443,000 people signing on. Separately from the PAC, the organization says it's raised more than $86 million to conduct advocacy operations, which have included supporter events, town halls and a presidential candidate forum.

Though billed as a grassroots organization, some of its major donations have come from corporate names, such as Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong. Coinbase launched the group last year.

What separates the new PAC from other prominent crypto campaign-finance efforts is the others have been dominated by a handful of major digital assets businesses, giving $10 million or more to Fairshake and affiliated PACs. Those organizations target candidates with unlimited indirect support that's deployed independent of their campaigns. Stand With Crypto's PAC, as a political arm of the "social welfare" organization that's classified as a 501(c)(4), will give donations directly to the candidates, Carr said, targeting "individuals who have demonstrated an impressive knowledge and commitment to crypto and blockchain innovation in America." The amounts will be limited by the constraints that come with direct donations. And unlike with financial support to the organization itself, giving to the PAC will require the donors to identify themselves publicly.

The group endorsed a city councilman in Oregon, Democrat Eddy Morales, who is heading into a congressional primary there in a couple of weeks and said on his campaign website that "artificial intelligence, blockchain, and other technologies are still emerging and allow people to build wealth, own their own data, and have a seat at the table in the economy of the future," adding that he'd "focus on creating a regulatory framework that provides clarity to these industries." It also highlights Troy Downing, a Montana Republican who is the state's securities watchdog and is running for a House seat there amid a crowded field facing a June primary.

The group additionally endorsed three candidates that other crypto PACs have previously favored: Alabama Democrat Shomari Figures; Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), who just won his party's primary this week to pursue a Senate seat; and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, seeking the Senate seat left open by a departing Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) The endorsements will continue with future selections, Carr said, and the organization already has a well of incumbent candidates to choose from, because it maintains a grading of the members of Congress based on crypto friendliness.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Jesse Hamilton

Jesse Hamilton is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for global policy and regulation. He doesn't hold any crypto.