Friday, December 09, 2022

Politicians are waking up to the fact that crypto has votes

Australia’s Minister of Financial Services, Jane Hume, argued in a speech last month that the booming crypto industry has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and boost Australia’s economic growth by more than 50 percent.

But if the country voted for the opposition Labor Party in the May 21 national election, she said, nothing like this would happen. Australia will lose as the opposition bans digital assets “out of cowardice” [and] Passionate to remove all risks and protect consumers from themselves.”

On the contrary, she said, could not have been more stringent with the current government, which wanted Australians to participate in the digital gold rush.

“There is a political reality here. I would love the support of the crypto industry to be a bipartisan issue, but it is not,” she told her audience.

It is the voice of politicians for the voter capacity of crypto enthusiasts. Bitcoin and its peers have grown in popularity since the start of the pandemic and millions of people around the world now own digital assets that are worth more than $2tn in total.

As their popularity grew, so did the attention of elected officials: crypto is becoming a minor hot button issue as political parties around the world wonder whether a stance on digital assets and their regulation could win votes.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if crypto becomes an issue at the next election,” said Sheila Warren, chief executive of the Crypto Council for Innovation, a US lobby group.

“I think it’s more likely at the local level right now [to be a topic], Until the next election. , , Crypto has a contribution to climate, to social justice and it is up to us as an industry to present these arguments,” she said.

The digital asset industry is already flexing its lobbying muscles in Washington and Westminster, and cross-party proponents of the technology, known as the “crypto caucus”, are becoming one of the major power players on Capitol Hill. are ready for.

The core ideology of crypto cuts across party lines and emphasizes liberal ideas as well as social goals such as financial inclusion. But regulation and the extent to which these tokens should be overseen by authorities is emerging as a dividing line between the parties. Politically conservative parties take a more liberal approach while liberals argue for stricter regulation.

In the US, this year’s Senate votes in at least two states have candidates running on pro-blockchain platforms, including former child actor Brock Pierce in Vermont.

“Everyone should support innovation and better technology. Unfortunately, this has become a partisan issue for some, as we have seen from recent efforts to increase regulation,” said Bruce Fenton, a researcher in the crypto industry. Celebrity who is running for the Republican nomination in New Hampshire.

And crypto is seeping into politics around the world. In early April, the UK’s Conservative government announced a slew of measures designed to transform the country into a global hub for digital asset businesses, issuing the sector’s strongest support to date. On the same day, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak tasked the Royal Mint to issue a non-fungible token.

The appeal of crypto as a potential vote-winner is easy to understand when looking at the numbers, especially since digital assets are primarily held by young people. Globally, there are currently over 80 million individual crypto wallets active, according to data website

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A survey by crypto exchange Gemini found that 18 percent of UK adults hold digital assets, while a comparable number of adults in the US hold such coins. They are mostly young people, with more than 40 percent of crypto owners in the US being under the age of 35.

The number is increasing. The Gemini study shows that nearly half of all crypto owners in the US, Latin America and Asia-Pacific purchased digital tokens during the past year.

“The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine and sanctions by the US government have brought digital assets to the attention of many voters,” said Richard Levine, president of fintech and regulation practice at law firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough.

He added that the presidential executive order on digital assets had brought the issue of cryptocurrencies to the attention of candidates running for Congress. There were already some, such as Cynthia Lumis of Wyoming, who is a vocal supporter of blockchain and whose campaigns would likely benefit from the support of crypto enthusiasts.

With the growing number of crypto-curious, the interest of politicians is only going to follow.

“I can say this with certainty: more and more candidates, whether current or challenging, are focusing on crypto,” Warren said.

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