The U.S. Federal Election Commission revealed this week that Cryptocurrency exchange giant Coinbase has formed a Political Action Committee (PAC).
The role of PACs in the US is that of a fundraiser for candidates running for public office. At the U.S. federal level, an organization becomes a PAC when it receives or spends more than $1,000 for the purpose of influencing a federal election and registers with the Federal Election Commission, according to the Federal Election Campaign Act.
The news is unexpected, as this would be the first case of a cryptocurrency exchange forming a Political Action Committee, and will almost certainly pose questions as to the reasons why the company is taking this route. When Coinbase was questioned about this they chose to decline from offering further details apart from confirming that they had made the application.
It’s perhaps worth noting however that the exchange, valued at $1.6 billion in fall of last year, has already donated more than $81,000 for political causes, according to a CNN report on Friday. Most of that, a sum of $78,000, went to Brian Forde, a Congressional candidate and former Office of Science and Technology Policy advisor to President Barack Obama.
Forde helped lead projects like TechHire and President Obama’s Climate Data Initiative. He then became influential in the area of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology while heading MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative after leaving his position at the White House.
The other $3,000 reportedly went to BIT PAC, a PAC which has apparently donated to Republicans Justin Amash and Josh Mandel. Amash has been a frequent critic of the National Security Agency’s anti-terrorism surveillance programs and Mandel is an outspoken critic of the scientific consensus on climate change.
As yet the Coinbase PAC hasn’t raised funds for donations and hasn’t listed any affiliations to anyone running for public office.
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