A16z Boosts Crypto's Election Fund by Another $25M to Seek Friendly Congress

After Ripple's similar addition, which put the industry's political action committees over the $100M mark this week, the additional $25M pushes the political influence into rare territory.

AccessTimeIconMay 30, 2024 at 3:35 p.m. UTC
Updated May 30, 2024 at 4:10 p.m. UTC
  • A16z and Ripple have now each plowed nearly $50 million into the industry's shared Fairshake PAC.
  • The political action committee's has so far supported several crypto-friendly winners in congressional primaries, often flooding the local markets with significant advertising dollars.

A $25 million donation from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) hit the campaign coffers of the industry's U.S. political action committee (PAC), according to a Thursday announcement from the firm, putting the amount raised by some of crypto's biggest names at about $136 million and potentially elevating the sector to the upper echelon of campaign donors.

As Chris Dixon, the leader of a16z Crypto, was set to take the stage at CoinDesk's Consensus 2024 event, his firm announced the latest donation to the Fairshake PAC. This puts a16z and Ripple at comparable levels as the leading backers of Fairshake and its affiliates. The companies have each kicked in nearly $50 million, with the next leading contributor being Coinbase Inc.

"That's one of our many policy efforts, and we see this as a very longterm effort," Dixon said at the conference. "We will be – for many years – involved in this policy. I think this is the new normal."

If a16z's Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz are viewed as individuals – as they are in Federal Election Commission filings – their donations would land them in the current top-10 list of individual U.S. campaign contributors, according to a ranking maintained by OpenSecrets.org.

Fairshake – along with related PACs Defend American Jobs (for Republican recipients) and Protect Progress (for Democrats) – have already weighed in with millions for targeted congressional campaigns, with favored candidates from both political parties. The giving, which has frequently flooded a particular candidate with much more support than his or her opponents, has shown results in primary voting, with several crypto-friendly candidates winning those preliminary contests.

Most of the cash at Fairshake still remains on hand, according to its most recent federal filings, though the specific intentions for spending it remain undisclosed. Because the committees are so-called super PACs, they give indirectly to campaigns through "independent expenditures" – typically devoted to the purchase of advertising without getting clearance from the candidates. In Fairshake's case, the most significant deployment of cash was to oppose Senate candidate Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), who lost in California's primary.

At $136 million, the level of money being devoted to the 2024 election – so far focused only on congressional races – rivals many other major industries, including oil and gas producers and healthcare companies, and in its broader category of investment firms, the biggest crypto contributors are easily among the top 10, according to OpenSecrets.org.

UPDATE (May 30, 2024, 15:57 UTC): Adds comment from Chris Dixon of a16z.

Edited by Nikhilesh De.


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Jesse Hamilton

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