Crypto Fundraising Startup Sets Sights on Midterm Election Donations

Engage Raise, Engage Lab’s donation platform that launched in July 2022, currently works with 16 congressional candidates to facilitate cryptocurrency contributions


Blockworks exclusive art by Axel Rangel


key takeaways

  • The crypto community cares about politics now more than ever
  • Donating in fiat does nothing to help advance the crypto agenda, crypto fundraising startup co-founder said

Political software company Engage Labs is banking on people putting their crypto where their votes are, and they are helping candidates make it possible.

Digital fundraising is an essential part of electioneering, Engage CEO Martin Dobelle told Blockworks — so supplying the picks and shovels for candidates to accept crypto donations is a logical next step. 

“Politics is more important than ever for the blockchain space and for the future of blockchain innovation,” Dobelle said. “There obviously has been an increase in political contributions from the space, but most of it has not been in the form of crypto, and — from talking with voters — we know people would have loved to do it.” 

Engage Raise, the firm’s donation platform that launched in July 2022, is now working with 16 US congressional candidates to facilitate cryptocurrency contributions directly to candidates. The platform is helpful for candidates and, especially, their compliance and finance teams that might not be as experienced with digital assets, Dobelle said. 

“We had a pretty easy time signing up a slate of candidates,” Dobelle said. “We’re a nonpartisan company; we’re a public benefit company; and we care about civic engagement in the digital age. We think for that to really be credible, it can’t be partisan.” 

The team declined to comment on how many donations candidates have received through the platform, but said the average has been about $1,000 per donor. The most popular token for donations has been the stablecoin USDC, followed by Ethereum’s native ether (ETH). 

It’s no surprise crypto-conscious voters are taking a more active role in campaign financing, according to Jeffrey Howard, the head of North American business development and institutional sales at digital asset and software-as-a-service provider OSL.

“This election is the most consequential election for crypto,” Howard said. “Prior to [the last session of congress], crypto just wasn’t an issue…regulators weren’t paying attention to it, therefore, politicians weren’t paying attention to it.” 

The landscape has changed, though, Howard added. 

Dobelle, for his part, said that in order to persuade policymakers that cryptoassets are a “legitimate financial tool for the future” it “doesn’t help your case” to make a donation via a check or another form of fiat. 

“That’s why we’re seeing increasing demand on the part of people in the community to send money in crypto,” he said.

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