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Coinbase Adds a Curious Feature

The most popular bitcoin and other cryptocurrency exchange in the United States is trying something new and unheard of.
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Nothing stops Coinbase  (COIN)

The most popular platform for buying and selling bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies in the United States remains committed to pushing for mass adoption of the crypto industry. 

To achieve this, the firm already targets the masses directly with ads broadcast during major sport events. Its 2022 Super Bowl commercial last February had been one of the most talked on social networks. The now retro, bouncing QR code created a major buzz.

A Scorecard

But the platform also knows that seducing main street is not enough. Indeed, Coinbase has been targeting lawmakers, those who make the laws regulating the future of cryptocurrencies. It uses classic lobbying actions like donations to political campaigns.

But Coinbase has just innovated by deciding to put pressure on politicians by going directly to their constituents and potential voters. As the November mid-term elections approach, the platform will allow its users to see which lawmakers are crypto-friendly and which are neutral or opposed to the industry. 

A new tool has thus been added to the Coinbase application that users can consult directly to find out if their representative is an advocate for the young industry. It's a scorecard for the crypto community to pressure their elected officials.

"Starting today, Coinbase will begin integrating our crypto policy efforts right into our app," CEO Brian Armstrong recently announced on Twitter. "These will help our 103M verified users get educated on the crypto positions held by political leaders where they live."

"For instance, U.S. users can see crypto sentiment scores from members of congress based on publicly available statements they've made, register to vote, and find out about local town hall events," Armstrong added.

Members of Congress are thus graded according to their sentiment towards crypto. The ratings take into account different elements and range from A for crypto-friendly lawmakers to F for those against the industry.

Coinbase relies on the Crypto Action Network (CAN) which has just issued a report card of the outgoing congress. The platform is one of the financial backers of CAN.

Support Crypto-Friendly Candidates

CAN judged the lawmakers on the following criteria: sponsored and/or co-sponsored legislation; positive or negative public statements; selected cryptocurrency votes; positive or negative cryptocurrency related op-eds; positive or negative cryptocurrency congressional letters; crypto-caucus membership and their willingness to host crypto-focused events and accept crypto donations to their campaigns. 

"Based on our methodology, Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Rob Portman (R-OH), Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) all received 'A' grades," CAN said. "In the House of Representatives, 24 members received 'A' grades." Most members of Congress, more than 70%, received "incomplete" grades because they have yet to say much if anything about cryptocurrency policy, according to CAN.

Eventually, Coinbase wants to use this feature to allow pro-crypto candidates to raise money for their campaigns. And also wants to make it a permanent means of pressure from crypto fans and investors on politicians.

"Over time, we want to help pro-crypto candidates solicit donations from the crypto community (in crypto). We'll also expand to get more geographic coverage in global elections, and add data on various candidates running for office (not just current elected officials)," Armstrong said.

Coinbase is trying to rally the crypto community which has become a 'large constituent', to "engage elected leaders and drive sensible policies."

The unveiling of this new lobbying tool comes amid growing calls for strict supervision of cryptocurrencies after a series of scandals that contributed to the  current market crash. 

The collapse in May of sister tokens Luna and UST caused a liquidity crunch that forced hedge fund Three Arrows Capital into liquidation and led prominent crypto lenders like Celsius Network and Voyager Digital to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Retail investors lost tens of billions of dollars from their savings, while institutional investors had to depreciate their portfolios of digital assets.