🟪 Could Crypto Swing An Election?

In just the last week or so, some have started to think that it might.

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"Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer."

- John F. Kennedy

Could Crypto Swing An Election?

The 1984 US presidential election was a nail-biter — in Minnesota, Walter Mondale won his home state by just 3,761 votes, 0.18% of the total. 

He did then lose the other 49 states by 16.9 million votes and 18.2 percentage points, for a crushing 525 to 13 defeat in the all-important Electoral College.

I’m old enough to remember, however, that even in that seemingly non-polarized election, a lot of Democrats really hated his opponent, Ronald Reagan — as much, even, as they hate their opponent in 2024 (if the memory of a then 13-year-old observer can be trusted).

But you only have to look at the electoral map to know that many more Democrats liked him so much they were willing to cross party lines to vote for him.

That doesn’t happen much anymore. 

In part, it’s because people have gotten further and further away from the center line that divides the two major parties, so it takes something increasingly dramatic to get them all the way back.

Could crypto be that something?

In just the last week or so, some have started to think that it might.

The Persuadables

For crypto to swing a presidential election, a lot of voters would have to 1) really care about the issue and 2) be willing to break their usual voting pattern because of it.

A survey of my Twitter feed over the weekend suggests that the first condition is met — a lot of people care enough about crypto to at least say they will cast their vote for Trump based on that issue alone.

Whether the second condition can be met is unknowable — would enough of those avowed single-issue voters have otherwise voted for Biden to make a difference?

At first glance, that seems unlikely, if for no other reason than the pool of voters willing to switch sides is probably at an all-time low.

When the New York Times asked the pollster Patrick Murray who the persuadable voters of 2024 might be, he responded: "You want me to name them individually? Because I probably could at this point."

He was exaggerating, of course, but that is how it feels in this hyper-partisan age.

But feelings aren’t facts.

The facts found by the authors of The Persuadable Voter — an influential study of how and why campaigns use "wedge issues" to win elections — suggest that there are many more persuadable voters in the US than it may seem. 

The book, published in 2008, challenged the popular notion that presidential politics had become solely about each party mobilizing their base, arguing instead that a significant portion of voters remain persuadable, often with "micro-targeted" messaging. 

That might remain true even now: A recent Wall Street Journal poll found that 32% of likely voters are "still persuadable."

If so, The Persuadable Voter suggests that microtargeting single-issue voters is the best way to reach them.

"Some of the most persuadable voters in the electorate," the authors write, "are partisans who disagree with their party on a policy issue they care about."

Sound familiar?

Perhaps even more familiar sounding is that the pool of persuadable voters, according to their study, "is primarily composed of partisans who disagree with their party on a personally important policy issue."

If we learned anything from the torrent of responses to this weekend's Blockworks op-ed on the topic of single-issue voters, it’s that crypto people take their policy opinions personally.

Yes, the pool of persuadable voters is likely far smaller than normal this time around.

But if the election is as close as it was last time, it wouldn't take many people changing their usual voting pattern to be decisive. 

President Biden won the popular vote by seven million in 2020, but he won the Electoral College by fewer than 44,000 votes spread across just three states (Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia).

Are there 6,800 Georgia voters who might flip their vote from Biden to Trump just because of crypto?

That still sounds like a lot to me.

But if I were running the president’s re-election campaign, I might not want to risk it especially considering that it would cost effectively nothing to avoid the risk entirely.

He probably wouldn’t have to do much more than ask Elizabeth Warren’s anti-crypto army to stand down for a few months — and why not? Because the political risk is all in one direction. 

Warren’s militant stance against crypto isn’t going to get any Republicans to vote Democrat — crypto may be unpopular but it’s not that unpopular.

So why not take the issue off the table by being less outspokenly anti-crypto?

My advice to the Biden campaign is to make crypto bi-partisan again. 

It’s good politics and, who knows, maybe even a tiny step back toward the halcyon days of American togetherness when 49 states could all agree on something.

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The Dark Side of Token Launches

In today's episode Jason is joined by Arthur of DeFianceCapital and Sean of Fintech Collective. They kick off the episode by discussing the current state of token launches, highlighting the unsustainable model of low float and high fully diluted valuations that often leave retail investors at a disadvantage. They explore the challenges in accurately valuing crypto assets and the need for better alignment of incentives between teams, investors, and the broader market.

Watch or listen to Empire on YouTube, Spotify or Apple.

recent research

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Research

Despite crypto gaming related projects and funds raising close to a billion dollars in November 2021, there have been only a handful of games that have attracted users apart from mercenary capital, and have had sustained activity for longer than a few months. Crypto gaming is going through an infrastructure phase. Theoretically, crypto gaming stands to benefit from purpose-built, high throughput chains, where blockspace is cheap (especially for games which are fully onchain). However, despite the launch of many gaming-focused chains, most crypto games are lacking in quality and quantity. Most new crypto gaming infrastructure either have no games or only a few games launched (e.g. Xai) or have failed to garner meaningful attention (e.g. Immutable X).