Cryptocurrency exchange behemoth, Coinbase has decommissioned its political action committee (PAC). This move comes after nine months after the San Francisco-based exchange service created the PAC which incidentally did not raise any funds.
Meanwhile, there continues to be a growing intersection of cryptocurrency and politics not just in the United States but in other countries as well. With virtual currencies enjoying a period of significant gains, Bitcoin and the likes have become even more popular topics of conversation in the political sphere.
Coinbase Shuts Down PAC
According to the U.S. Federal Election Commission (FEC), Coinbase submitted a termination report for its PAC on Wednesday (April 3, 2019). Details released by the FEC show that the Coinbase PAC registered zero fundraising on spending activities during its tenure.
The FEC has yet to approve the request to terminate the PAC. Thus, Coinbase will have to continue providing filing disclosures though it seems unlikely that any money will flow through the PAC.
The news of the termination comes less than a year after the U.S. cryptocurrency exchange giant first created the PAC. Called the Coinbase Inc., PAC, it became public knowledge via an FEC filing back in July 2018.
At the time, commentators espoused the idea of the PAC being an attempt by the Coinbase hierarchy to increase their lobbying efforts in Washington. With the mid-term elections approaching several stakeholders in the U.S. cryptocurrency scene were trying to back politicians with a friendly disposition to virtual currencies.
Earlier in 2018, Andreessen Horowitz and other VC juggernauts launched a plan to lobby the U.S. Congress for more crypto-friendly regulations. Many stakeholders expressed concerns over the approach being taken by regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The Increasing Intersection of Cryptocurrency and Politics
While the Coinbase PAC might not have yielded any donations or funded any candidates, there is an observable uptrend in the relationship between cryptocurrency companies and those on Capitol Hill.
Most of the lobbying efforts seemed geared towards the emergence of regulations that will promote the growth of the cryptocurrency industry in the U.S. These efforts might be yielding fruit in the form of the Token Taxonomy Act, as well as a patchwork of cryptocurrency and blockchain-friendly legislations being passed in different State Senates.
Despite the progress made thus far, there are still some contentions over proposals like the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) for virtual currencies. Critics say the regulatory framework offers no property rights for virtual currency holders and does not ensure super-negotiability for cryptocurrency transactions.
Andrew Yang, a U.S. presidential hopeful of the Democratic Party has even put clear-cut cryptocurrency regulations as one of his campaign promises. So far, the U.S. continues to be behind other countries in the area of establishing a firm regulatory environment for virtual currencies.
Cryptocurrency and Politics Outside the US
Outside of the United States, there are developing political undertones to cryptocurrency adoption for countries like Russia, Ukraine, Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela, to mention a few. Rumors have recently emerged saying Russia used Bitcoin to support newly elected Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky
Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela appear to be embracing cryptocurrency as a means of circumventing U.S. economic sanctions. Following the collapse of the country’s economy, citizens of Venezuela have taken to Bitcoin mining as a way of ensuring their continued survival.
Several cybersecurity experts allege that North Korea is behind the hacks against South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges. Reports indicate that Pyongyang is using the proceeds of these hacks to continue its nuclear weapons program.