Crypto companies spent a record $21.55 million in 2022 on Washington lobbying, with major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase leading the list.
Last year’s spending was more than double the crypto industry’s lobbying outlay of $8.29 million for 2021, according to an analysis of disclosures by OpenSecrets, which rounded up disclosures from more than 50 industry players.
The report revealed that Coinbase spent the most on lobbying, shelling out around $3.4 million in 2022. Blockchain Association, Crypto.com, Binance Holdings, and Ripple rank next in terms of their lobbying spending, each shelling out around $1.9 million, $1.2 million, $1.1 million, and $1 million, respectively.
It is worth noting that campaign contributions, election finance, or political donations are not counted as lobbying spending, even as donors make them build relationships with policymakers.
The record lobbying spending came during a year when the industry saw a string of high-profile failures that started with the implosion of Terra’s algorithmic stablecoin and ended with the collapse of crypto exchange FTX and most recently the failure of crypto lending company Genesis.
Meanwhile, while the crypto industry’s lobbying spending is growing, the amounts spent by its individual companies and trade groups fall well short of lobbying spending by major technology and e-commerce companies.
For instance, Amazon and its subsidiaries paid out $21.38 million in 2022, according to an analysis by OpenSecrets, which is a research group tracking money in U.S. politics. Likewise, Alphabet spent more than $13 million in lobbying last year.
Sam Bankman-Fried Was a Megadonor for Politicians Last Year
Last year, Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of FTX, spent almost $40 million on political action committees and campaigns, the bulk of it going to the Democratic party and its candidates. He was one of the single largest donors behind Joe Biden’s successful 2020 presidential campaign.
Back in December, Elon Musk claimed that SBF could have donated as much as $1 billion to Democrats. The speculation came after the disgraced crypto boss revealed that some of his political donations were not publicly disclosed.
The undisclosed donations are legally possible due to the supreme court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case, which allows donors to give money to politicians anonymously.
More recently, however, the new FTX management has requested political figures and any other recipients of donations made by Sam Bankman-Fried and other FTX executives to return the funds by the end of the month.
The announcement noted that recipients of the donations would be required to repay the amount they have received from FTX executives, even if they have used that amount to make a payment to a third party, including a charity.