Everything is being politicized, including crypto, says former POTUS candidate Andrew Yang

Although cryptocurrency can still be misunderstood on Capitol Hill, crypto is becoming more political as its influence gains traction. For example, lobbying by cryptocurrency industry players has reached new heights. A report by nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen found that the number of lobbyists on cryptocurrency-related issues has increased from 115 in 2018 to 320 in 2021. The report further notes that the number of representatives within the cryptocurrency industry has increased from 47 to 157 over the year.

The United States midterm elections, scheduled to take place on November 8, 2022, further demonstrate the politicization of crypto. This became evident as a number of crypto holders continue to invest heavily in political campaigns across the country. For example, Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of crypto exchange FTX, has helped raise over $14 million for Protect Our Future, a political action committee that supports candidates running for seats in the US House of Representatives.

The influence of crypto on politics was also recently shown at the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference (SALT), which took place in the Bahamas this year. The event, which drew over 2,000 participants, featured a number of global leaders during panel discussions, including former US Presidential candidate and New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang.

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Cointelegraph senior reporter Rachel Wolfson speaks with Andrew Yang at Crypto Bahamas.

Yang delivered a keynote at the SALT conference titled “How Governments Can Empower the People with Crypto.” Following this discussion, Cointelegraph spoke to Yang about his views on using crypto for political campaigns and Universal Basic Income (UBI).

Yang also mentioned his plans for crypto’s future in politics, discussing how this relates to his newly formed Forward Party, which aims to unite America’s political parties. For context, Laura Del Savio, the Forward Party’s senior communications strategist, told Cointelegraph that the organization is working to reform America’s political system so incentives don’t push people to extremes to discourage compromise:

“Other political parties thrive by dividing America. We bring them together and try to put political power in the hands of the people. This goal is shared by the crypto community. Blockchain technology is enabling new governance structures that will ensure greater representation.”

Cointelegraph: Mr. Yang, can you please explain why crypto is so important for political campaigns today?

Andrew Yang: Everything is politicized in America today and crypto is no exception. There are many people in the crypto community who don’t like politics or want to avoid the topic, but I think more and more people are realizing that this is no longer an option. When we interact with Washington, DC, we want effective, intelligent, and forward-thinking treatment.

I speak to so many people in the crypto space who are becoming more politically active right now. The fact is that this community is still in the process of maturing how it wants to act politically. However, if we want to take the right approach, we need to spend time investing with regulators, legislators and the public and educating them about the potential benefits and applications of cryptocurrency.

CT: How is cryptocurrency related to universal basic income?

AY: The cryptocurrency community was one of the first to embrace my presidential campaign, so I propose that universal basic income can be received in fiat, but also in crypto or a new currency. If our goal is to alleviate poverty, then crypto is an enormously powerful toolkit. This is how we should approach the UBI.

CT: What are your plans to push crypto regulation forward?

AY: I am currently working on this with my team at Lobby3, a newly formed decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). We’ve had productive conversations with people who are interested in crypto and in some cases skeptical, but at least all are open to learning about it.

I also think that many people involved in crypto are libertarians or independents in their political affiliations and therefore do not see either the Democratic or Republican parties as a natural home. That’s one of the reasons I founded the Forward Party, so I could help activate the millions of Americans who want an alternative to the two-party system. Some of the people who were most excited about this were my friends in the crypto space.

CT: Any additional comments you’d like to share?

AY: Yes, if we want to build the future we want, we need to become as activated and smart as others were before. If we do that, I believe we will be able to achieve our goals.