Joe Biden’s campaign explores crypto donations via Coinbase

U.S. President Joe Biden’s campaign is in discussions with cryptocurrency industry players about accepting crypto donations through Coinbase Commerce, sources familiar with the matter told The Block.

Coinbase Commerce, which allows merchants to accept various cryptocurrencies, already powers crypto donations to Republican candidate Donald Trump’s campaign, which began accepting digital currency contributions in May.

The Biden campaign’s exploration of crypto donations marks its latest effort to appeal to crypto-focused voters ahead of an election that experts believe could be closely contested. It also suggests a strategy to attract funds from pro-crypto donors.

“They’re paying attention to issues around crypto and are trying to find quick wins to show that they’re supportive of the industry,” one source noted, adding that the Biden team wants to demonstrate that they are not adversaries to the crypto sector.

Efforts to craft the Biden campaign’s crypto messaging have intensified recently, particularly following backlash against President Biden for rejecting a bipartisan push to repeal SAB 121, a legislative measure criticized for hindering the industry’s growth in the U.S.

Sources close to the matter indicated that discussions about accepting crypto donations are still exploratory. Political candidates on both sides of the aisle have taken notice of the mobilization of pro-crypto donors.

Crypto-backed super PACs have amassed a $100 million war chest, according to consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen. How these funds are distributed could significantly influence the election, as votes often align with the flow of wealthy donors’ contributions.

Crypto donations will be reported as in-kind contributions, similar to gifts of stock, and the campaign will have the option to liquidate the digital assets or retain them.

Hours before the Trump campaign began appealing to crypto donors, Biden’s team sent a fundraising text warning supporters that “cryptocurrency executives and oil barons are coming out of the woodwork for Trump.”

The Trump campaign touted him as the “first major party nominee” to embrace crypto donations. However, Trump is not the official nominee until July and is not the first presidential candidate to accept cryptocurrency donations.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., running an independent presidential campaign, announced in May 2023 that his campaign would accept Bitcoin donations. Additionally, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., accepted Bitcoin donations for his presidential campaign back in 2015.