Coinbase pushing pro crypto-lobbying crusade through its app

Brian Armstrong, the company's CEO, announced an update to the brand's mobile app that will inform users on their state politicians' stance on crypto.

Brian Armstrong, CEO and Co-Founder, Coinbase, speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference ...

Brian Armstrong, the co-founder and CEO of Coinbase, took to Twitter this week to announce a change in his company’s mobile app. The update will allow users to monitor how crypto-friendly their state’s congress members are based on public statements, in addition to providing a voter registration tool.

Congress members are assigned a score based on their “crypto sentiment” that ranges anywhere from “very positive,” to “very negative.” These scores are calculated based on data from the CryptoActionNetwork; media statements, legislative records and social media posts are taken into account.

In some cases, there isn’t enough publicly available data to assign a score, but for those that land somewhere on the scale, the legislative action portal allows users to contact their specific member of congress to “urge them to support pro-crypto policies.” Within Armstrong’s Twitter thread, he stated that one of the company’s end goals is to be able to assist pro-crypto politicians by “soliciting donations from the crypto community (in crypto).”

Gearing up for November — This feature arrives about a month after Coinbase put out a statement on its site, informing users about a broader crypto policy education initiative. As the 2022 midterm elections approach this November, and with increased regulatory scrutiny on the industry, it seems that Coinbase is hoping to drive community participation towards pro-crypto lawmakers.

Uberesque — The move is reminiscent of the efforts Uber and Lyft took to push the certification of Proposition 22, a piece of legislation that would’ve allowed the rideshare apps to classify contract workers as employees. In doing so, both companies could have avoided the need to guarantee their drivers’ wages and avoid providing them with healthcare benefits.

While Prop 22 did manage to secure 58 percent of the vote, the law was later determined unconstitutional. According to the LA Times, Uber and Lyft sunk more than $200 million into the policy effort. Around the time leading up to the vote, app-users were bombarded with inescapable push notifications as well as in-app notices that framed the policy as having a negative impact on its workforce.

Even though Coinbase’s policy effort is certainly less craven than Uber and Lyft’s push, the move to get political shows just how serious Coinbase (and assuredly other big players) are about keeping the crypto space free of regulatory scrutiny.