In a year where the US is bitterly divided over the Middle East, abortion rights, and immigration, could crypto decide an election?
Coinbase’s chief legal officer Paul Grewal certainly thinks so.
The US’s biggest exchange is looking to mobilise what it says is a young and diverse bloc of 52 million crypto owners.
“When you have such small differences between the vote count for one candidate and another, a few thousand passionate voters who say crypto matters to them can punch way above their weight,” Grewal told us on a call.
In the handful of states that will end up selecting the winners, “the margin separating one candidate or another is exceptionally small,” he said.
Members can sign up and donate money to lobbying efforts. Coinbase is one of crypto’s top spenders on The Hill.
These people will “vote on crypto-based positions that politicians take, and they’re willing to make their voices heard,” Grewal said.
Crypto in the mainstream
It does appear, though, that crypto is making its way into mainstream politics — despite its foibles.
As recently as the 2022 midterms, politicians on the campaign trail avoided mentioning crypto. Hardly surprising, given the high-profile collapse of FTX in November 2022.
That’s changing. Most notably with Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, who recently slammed the idea of a digital dollar as a “threat to freedom.”
For Grewal, it’s significant to see a presidential candidate taking a position on central bank digital currencies, which remain a fringe issue.
“That was unimaginable to me even just one cycle ago,” he said.
Grewal said politicians understand that small but passionate blocs of single-issue voters can be make-or-break.
“The fact that we are talking about CBDCs in the midst of all these other really hotly contested issues speaks to the fact that crypto is here to stay,” he said.
Look out for our longer interview with Grewal on DL News this week.
A version of this article appeared in The Guidance newsletter. Sign up here.