The Crypto-Enthusiast Guide To The 2018 United States Senate Elections

Voters focused on women’s health can check Planned Parenthood’s Congressional scorecard to get a sense of where candidates stand on issues important to them. The NRA has a similar ranking for gun issues, and FreedomWorks has one for tax cuts.

These services help bring key issues to the attention of politicians and over time help shift political opinion towards the interest areas being rated.

Crypto is its own community, one that half of all millennials are interested in. With the US 2018 elections coming up we’ve put together a comprehensive look at each Senate candidate’s position on cryptocurrency related issues.

We score the candidates on a 100 point scale. We award up to 40 points for concrete policy positions and initiatives that are directly in the interest of cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Candidates can earn up to 20 more points by demonstrating their support for crypto and accepting donations across a broad spectrum of cryptocurrencies. The final 40 points are determined based on the candidate’s overall disposition and rhetoric on cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency related interest areas such as a right to encryption.

Candidates start with a base score of 20 in that last category. Points are removed for actions that are detrimental to the cryptocurrency community.

Overall candidates had low scores, with no one scoring more than 48. But as cryptocurrency issues become more prominent in the national discourse we look forward to this changing.

Arizona

Kyrsten Sinema

23

Martha McSally

20

  • Sinema was a co-sponsor of the bipartisan LIBERT-E (Limiting Internet and Blanket Electronic Review of Telecommunications and Email) Act which helped strengthen privacy against the NSA. She gets three points for that.
  • McSally didn’t have a clear position on crypto or issues important to crypto, so remains at 20 points.

California

Dianne Feinstein

8

Kevin de León

20

  • Feinstein has voted for programs that weaken privacy against the NSA, although she also has a record of criticizing privacy overreaches.
  • She sponsored a bill to criminalize all forms of encryption after Apple refused an FBI request to decrypt an iPhone.
  • She sought to amend the definition of financial terms to include crypto – while some in the crypto community fear regulation, we believe a clear framework is important and support such moves.
  • All in all Feinstein’s record is mixed. Her support for ending strong encryption was the most important factor in subtracting 12 points from her base score.
  • de León didn’t have a clear position on crypto or issues important to crypto, so remains at 20 points.

Delaware

Rob Arlett

21

Tom Carper

25

  • Arlett has a platform that talks about the importance of Fintech and bringing new, secure financial solutions to the market. We aware him a point for this rhetoric.
  • Co-wrote the “Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010” which critics said would give the President too much power over the internet, though defenders responded that it would limit the power of the government. We kept his points level for this.
  • Compared blockchain to the early days of the internet when people struggled to find legitimate use cases. We awarded him five points for this.

Florida

Bill Nelson

18

Rick Scott

21

  • Co-sponsored a bill that targeted Venezuela’s new cryptocurrency. While we are no fans of the Venezuelan regime, the focus on crypto, rather than the broader regime, concerned us. We removed a couple points for this.
  • Scott appointed Jimmy Patronis as Chief Financial officer of Florida, who announced plans to hire a regulator to explore how securities and insurance laws apply to virtual currencies.
  • We believe clarity around regulations is important and awarded him a point for this.

Indiana

Joe Donnelly

19

Mike Braun

20

  • In a hearing on money laundering Donnelly focused on the use of cryptocurrencies in illegal activity. While eliminating bad actors in the crypto space is important, we do not see Donnelly making such claims with a view to strengthening the crypto ecosystem and subtracted a point.
  • Braun didn’t have a clear position on crypto or issues important to crypto, so remains at 20 points.

Maine

Angus King

21

Eric Brakey

48

  • In his platform King talks about reducing overlapping or duplicative regulations – something dear to cryptocurrency enthusiasts. We’ve award him a point for this.
  • Brakey allowed bitcoin donations for a short period. He earns 13 out of a possible 20 points for this. He would have earned more if he had accepted a wider selection of currencies, and had continued to do so.
  • Brakey’s broader rhetoric on cryptocurrencies earns him another 15 points.
  • Brakey didn’t earn any points for having concrete policies around cryptocurrencies – his campaign website is silent on the matter.

Maryland

Ben Cardin

18

Tony Campbell

20

  • Endorsed a bill that targeted Venezuela’s new cryptocurrency. While we are no fans of the Venezuelan regime, the focus on crypto, rather than the broader regime, concerned us. We removed a couple points for this.
  • Campbell didn’t have a clear position on crypto or issues important to crypto, so remains at 20 points.

Massachusetts

Elizabeth Warren

22

Geoff Diehl

20

  • Warren has talked about nurturing the positive aspects of cryptocurrencies, but has also slammed it for exploiting the poor.
  • We believe it’s important to have a healthy debate about the benefits and disadvantages of cryptocurrencies, and while we don’t fully agree with Warren’s criticism, we believe her point to be well thought out, and further support her wanting to examine the positive aspects of the technology.
  • Therefore we’ve given her a net two points.
  • Diehl didn’t have a clear position on crypto or issues important to crypto, so remains at 20 points.

Michigan

Debbie Stabenow

23

John James

20

  • Stabenow sought to find more information about oversight in the cryptocurrency space. We believe a clear regulatory framework to be important for cryptocurrencies, and so have awarded her three points for this.
  • James didn’t have a clear position on crypto or issues important to crypto, so remains at 20 points.

Minnesota

Amy Klobuchar

18

Jim Newberger

20

  • In a hearing on money laundering Klobuchar focused on the difficulty of tracking cryptocurrencies. While eliminating bad actors in the crypto space is important, we do not see Klobuchar making such claims with a view to strengthening the crypto ecosystem and subtracted a point.
  • Klobuchar has voted for programs that weaken privacy against the NSA. We took off another point for this.
  • Newberger has a section on his campaign page devoted to mining. Unfortunately, it seems to about non-currency mining.
  • He is otherwise silent on the issue so we left him at 20 points.

Minnesota (Special)

Karin Housley

20

Tina Smith

25

  • Housley has a section on her campaign page devoted to mining. Unfortunately, it is about copper-nickel mining.
  • She is otherwise silent on the issue so we left her at 20 points.
  • Smith has spoken about how utilities could benefit from the blockchain, earning her five points.

Montana

Jon Tester

20

Matt Rosendale

23

  • Tester didn’t have a clear position on crypto or issues important to crypto, so remains at 20 points.
  • Rosendale released a letter reminding investors to be careful about cryptocurrencies.
  • We agree that caution is warranted, and have awarded him three points for having a positive conversation about cryptocurrencies.

New Jersey

Bob Hugin

20

Bob Menendez

18

  • Hugin didn’t have a clear position on crypto or issues important to crypto, so remains at 20 points.
  • Denounced Venezuela’s new cryptocurrency. While we are no fans of the Venezuelan regime, the focus on crypto, rather than the broader regime, concerned us. We removed a couple points for this.

New Mexico

Martin Heinrich

21

Mick Rich

20

  • Heinrich talks about protecting the right to privacy on his campaign website. We gave him a point for this.
  • Rich didn’t have a clear position on crypto or issues important to crypto, so remains at 20 points.

North Dakota

Heidi Heitkamp

19

Kevin Cramer

20

  • In a hearing on tax evasion Heitkamp focused on the destabilizing effect the adoption of cryptocurrencies could have on tax collection. While eliminating bad actors in the crypto space is important, we do not see Heitkamp making such claims with a view to strengthening the crypto ecosystem and subtracted a point.
  • Cramer didn’t have a clear position on crypto or issues important to crypto, so remains at 20 points.

Ohio

Jim Renacci

20

Sherrod Brown

19

  • Renacci didn’t have a clear position on crypto or issues important to crypto, so remains at 20 points.
  • In his opening statements in a hearing on cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, Brown spoke about his hope that “this technology [would] prove useful” but ended by saying “it [was] easier to see the malign impacts on society” – we disagree with his final point, but only removed a point as we ultimately felt that some of his comments were constructive in nature.

Rhode Island

Robert Flanders

20

Sheldon Whitehouse

19

  • Flanders didn’t have a clear position on crypto or issues important to crypto, so remains at 20 points.
  • At a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, Whitehouse focused on the potential for Russian use of cryptocurrencies to interfere in the democratic process. While eliminating bad actors in the crypto space is important, we do not see Whitehouse making such claims with a view to strengthening the crypto ecosystem and subtracted a point.

Utah

Jenny Wilson

20

Mitt Romney

21

  • Wilson didn’t have a clear position on crypto or issues important to crypto, so remains at 20 points.
  • Romney’s platform spoke about investing more in technologies, talking about how this led to successful outcomes. This focus on technology earns Romney a point.
  • Romney was the target of a hacker who threatened to release Romney’s tax records unless he was paid a ransom in Bitcoin – fortunately there’s no evidence the experience soured Romney on cryptocurrencies.

Virginia

Corey Stewart

20

Tim Kaine

18

  • Stewart didn’t have a clear position on crypto or issues important to crypto, so remains at 20 points.
  • Co-sponsored a bill that targeted Venezuela’s new cryptocurrency. While we are no fans of the Venezuelan regime, the focus on crypto, rather than the broader regime, concerned us. We removed a couple points for this.

Washington

Maria Cantwell

25

Susan Hutchison

21

  • Cantwell has spoken about how the clean energy industry could benefit from the blockchain, earning her five points.
  • On her website Hutchison speaks about the importance of simplifying the tax code – something that is particularly difficult for crypto enthusiasts to navigate through. We gave her a point for this.

West Virginia

Joe Manchin

2

Patrick Morrisey

20

  • Released a statement proposing that Bitcoin be banned. As he didn’t propose banning all cryptocurrencies or all blockchain related technologies, we left him with two of his original 20 points
  • Morrisey didn’t have a clear position on crypto or issues important to crypto, so remains at 20 points.

Many candidates had no clear position on crypto. If all candidates in a race fell into this bucket they weren’t included in the analysis.

Note that we’ve put together this guide to focus on narrow candidate-level perspectives on cryptocurrency. There are far more issues at play during this election and we encourage individuals to research their local candidates to understand where they stand on the matters most important to them. Please also consider how your vote will impact the party that ultimately controls the Senate.

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