Cryptocurrency services behemoth, Coinbase, has formed a political action committee (PAC) as of July 20, 2018, per public documents. The company additionally secured a hedge fund for its Custody service on the same date.
The Coinbase Political Push
The self-proclaimed “Google of Cryptocurrencies” offers its wallet, exchange, and trading services to over 32 countries and is valued at $8 billion. Now, a PAC status will allow the San Francisco-based company to donate funds for political agendas and campaigns.
For the uninitiated, a PAC can raise funds and pool contributions from companies and members with aligned interests on a particular subject, eventually donating funds towards political goals for candidates, legislation, or ballot initiatives. PACs can voice their opinions against proposed policies. Additionally, PACs must register with the Federal Election Commision (FEC) to maintain compliance.
However, PACs faced some controversy in 2010. As reported by CNN, many political critics view the PAC framework as a blatant means of manipulating policies for a company’s advantage in the form of large donations and financial support. Subsequent public litigation against PACs was overturned, creating a wholly-legal method for private entities to use their treasury funds for financing political campaigns.
With the US elections for 2019 upcoming in November 2018, the PAC status may presumably be used by Coinbase to combat agendas against digital assets and support framework in the industry’s favor. Interestingly, as per FEC financial disclosure documents, Coinbase has already contributed $78,000 to Brian Forde’s campaign. Forde is running for the 45th Congressional District of California.
In 2014, the exchange contributed a relatively small amount of $3,000 to “Bit-PAC,” the first Bitcoin-based PAC that exclusively supported cryptocurrency-friendly candidates.
As reported by BTCManager, political statements from Congressmen like Brad Sherman, who called for a ban on cryptocurrencies and related activities, may serve as a motivator for companies like Coinbase to contest such candidates in order to save their business and potentially the broader cryptocurrency sector.
Hedge Fund Secured
In a separate development, Coinbase has secured an unnamed $20 billion hedge fund for the newly-launched “Custody” subsidiary. As reported by Business Insider on July 20, 2018, insider sources claim Coinbase is actively seeking partnerships with hedge funds and institutional family offices to secure a strong lineup before 2019.
However, Robert Hockett, Professor of law at Cornell University, voiced concerns:
“This raises conflict concerns, given Coinbase’s also running a coin exchange, reminiscent of those that the Commission has found when securities firms have attempted to combine these two roles.”