Crypto lobbying begins, US election hopefuls launch NFTs

By Raffaele Redi

New crypto laws likely to be discussed as key midterm elections loom

US Capitol, Washington DC                                 
All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 34 of 100 Senate seats will be contested in the midterms – Photo: Shutterstock
                                

Dapper Labs, Inc, which is based in Vancouver, Canada, has become the first NFT provider to officially register in the US to lobby on issues relevant to NFTs and blockchain.

Dapper Labs, the company behind NBA Top Shot and the Flow blockchain, made two applications, submitting the second through Crossroads Strategies, a consultancy firm that specialises in “planning and carrying out constructive government relations".

The US firm develops comprehensive advocacy campaigns to influence key policymakers, or in its own words, “develops and implements impactful advocacy campaigns to drive client outcomes in federal policy”.

Dapper Labs’ move followed an equity offering of $71m, which saw only $23m of shares placed while $48m remain to be sold. The company is valued at $7.5bn, following its last $250m funding round.

Crypto actors lobbying before elections

Crypto actors are currently awaiting further regulation from the SEC, with any new laws likely to be discussed in the Houses just as this year’s key midterm elections get underway.

The midterm elections will see all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 34 of the 100 seats in the Senate contested, as well as various other local elections.

Alongside Dapper Labs, other crypto players are also seeking to have their say regarding US policy on cryptos before the midterm elections take place.

The latest filing comes from Marathon Holding, one of the largest bitcoin miners, which is ready to campaign on crypto mining and blockchain issues. Even the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto featured on the lobbying list for a while, before recently unregistering.

Meanwhile, standing up for stablecoins will be the US Blockchain Association, which has been lobbying on issues such as the Virtual Currency Tax Fairness Act of 2020 and the Stablecoin Classification and Regulation Act of 2020.

2022 midterm campaigns

As policymakers approach the midterm elections, which are scheduled for November 2022, Kraken FX co-founder and CEO Jesse Powell recently asked the crypto community which politicians to bet on, with a view to potentially making donations to their campaigns.

The list provided by the community was a bipartisan one, including 15 politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties – namely Aarika Rhodes, Blake Masters, Cynthia Lummis, JD Vance, Jesse Sullivan, Josh Mandel, Kyrsten Sinema, Lanhee Chen, Matt West, Ro Khanna, Ron Wyden, Ted Cruz, Thomas Massie, Tom Emmer and Warren Davidson.

“Managed to get in 15 donations before the midnight Eastern deadline. Max contributed to all. I know we have many more supporters out there. Will take another pass in the next week. Please continue to drop names,” wrote Powell.

Both the Fed and the SEC are currently looking at stablecoins as fulcra of decentralised finance (DeFi), while the Houses are dealing with taxes on cryptocurrencies as well as environmental issues related to the blockchain system.

As for the e-dollar or a US central bank digital currency (CBDC), discussions are still at an early stage.

Campaign funding via NFTs

While crypto actors seek to lobby the Houses, some crypto enthusiasts in DC – or who are aiming to find a seat there – have begun seeking to fund their campaigns by minting NFTs.

Recently, Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters announced that all 99 NFTs based on the cover art of his best-selling book Zero To One had sold out, raising nearly $575,000 for his campaign.

On the other hand, Democratic candidate Shrina Kurani – an engineer who’s running for a House of Representatives seat in California – sold only a few of her NFTs, garnering a mere $6,610 in campaign funds.

These experiments, however, are not the first: in late 2021 a Lone Star NFT Collection was launched, highlighting those Texan representatives who participated in a protest against new voting restrictions. The NFT series sold out.

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