Coinbase, a16z boost super PAC donations as US Senate races intensify

As the 2024 election season gets underway, crypto companies and their executives seeking more influence in Washington have opened their checkbooks. 

Coinbase, Ripple Labs and Andreessen Horowitz are some of the top donors in the space, giving a collective $68.5 million across three crypto-focused super political action committees (PACs) since their launch, latest filings with the Federal Election Commission show. 

Affiliated super PACs Fairshake, Protect Progress and Defend American Jobs raked in a collective $84.8 million in 2023

The three committees intend to back “leaders who support American crypto and blockchain innovation and responsible regulation in the forthcoming 2024 elections,” a spokesperson told Blockworks in December. 

Read more: Latest crypto super PACs draw $78M influx of cash for friendly politicians

Top individual contributors to the committees include a16z co-founders Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz, who donated $8.5 million and $10.5 million, respectively, across the trio. Gemini founders Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss donated a combined total of $5 million to Fairshake as of the end of January 2024. 

The three super PACs have reported paying operating expenses and other fees for polling and research, but as of last month, have yet to give to any individual candidates. Fairshake, however, has started directing funds to advertising campaigns, most recently putting millions of dollars into backing the three candidates going up against candidate Katie Porter in California’s Senate primary. 

“We are standing up for California jobs and innovation,” a Fairshake representative said on the multimillion-dollar TV and digital media push. 

The ad campaign comes as another Senate race gets some attention from the crypto world. Attorney John Deaton, who gained a following over the past few years as a leading voice of the so-called “XRP army” fighting for Ripple in its case with the SEC, announced Tuesday he would be running against incumbent Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. 

Read from our opinion section: Petty legislation is crypto’s greatest enemy

While Deaton’s announcement video has no mention of cryptocurrency, fans of the newly minted politician have already started asking how they can donate to his cause via digital assets. 

Sen. Warren has made crypto a key pillar of her platform in recent months, particularly with regards to anti-money laundering and know-your-customer policies she hopes to impose on the industry. 

“If the SEC is going to let crypto burrow even deeper into our financial system, then it’s more urgent than ever that crypto follow basic anti-money laundering rules,” Warren said last month after the securities regulator gave spot bitcoin ETFs the greenlight, a choice, Warren added, she believes is “wrong on the law.” 

Fairshake, Protect Progress and Defend American Jobs are each on a monthly filing schedule and due to report February 2024 activity by March 20.

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