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HomeTRENDING NEWSHow Crypto Money Is Poised to Influence the Election

How Crypto Money Is Poised to Influence the Election

The industry’s political awakening — and enormous pool of cash — is already affecting high-profile races across the country.

Ryan Selkis, a cryptocurrency executive, was eating dinner at Mar-a-Lago last month when he got an unexpected invitation: Former President Donald J. Trump wanted him to come to the stage and say a few words.

Mr. Selkis, who runs the crypto data firm Messari, was one of a couple hundred attendees at an event celebrating Mr. Trump’s series of nonfungible tokens, the digital collectibles known as NFTs. When he reached the lectern, Mr. Selkis turned to face the former president.

“There’s 50 million crypto holders in the U.S.,” the executive declared. “That’s a lot of voters.”

That message has become a political talking point in the crypto world, as the industry tries to shake off a wave of scandals and establish itself as a powerful force in the 2024 election cycle. Three large crypto firms have banded together to finance a group of affiliated super PACs, investing about $150 million to elect pro-crypto candidates in congressional races.

The PACs are not planning to participate in the presidential election, a spokesman for the groups said. But top crypto executives have tried to mobilize the industry behind Mr. Trump, who has reciprocated by praising digital currencies and hosting executives at Mar-a-Lago.

Many crypto supporters view the 2024 election as a pivotal moment. After a series of crypto firms collapsed two years ago, the Biden administration embarked on an aggressive crackdown, bringing lawsuits and criminal charges against some of the industry’s leading figures. The Securities and Exchange Commission is pursuing cases that could effectively force the crypto industry out of the United States.

“The 2024 elections will be the most consequential in crypto’s history,” said Brad Garlinghouse, the chief executive of Ripple, a crypto company that has sparred with the federal government for years. “You are seeing a technology become a partisan political issue.”

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