Andrew Yang Wants to Make Forward Party the “Crypto Party”

Key Takeaways

  • Speaking on the latest Bankless podcast, Andrew Yang said he wants to make the Forward party the “Crypto Party.”
  • He said the U.S. needs to approach crypto regulation intelligently as the industry is a force for progress and innovation.
  • Yang believes that cryptocurrencies could be useful for distributing universal basic income.

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The founder and leader of the Forward Party and presidential candidate in the 2020 Democratic Party primaries says that he sees the Forward Party as the “Crypto Party.”

Andrew Yang: Cryptocurrency is a Path to UBI

Andrew Yang believes the values of the Forward Party and the crypto community are deeply aligned.

On the latest Bankless podcast, the Forward Party founder expressed strong support for the crypto industry, saying he wants to make the Forward Party the “Crypto Party” and help legislators realize that crypto is “a force for progress, a force for innovation, a massive provider of jobs.” He said:

“I want to make the Forward Party the Crypto Party, truly. Because I see the alignment as very, very deep. The parallels are so strong, where you have this system, you can say the political or the financial system, and you see that it’s failing and failing in its various ways, and then you say ‘OK, maybe we can do better’.”

Yang is an American entrepreneur, attorney, and politician who stood as a Democratic candidate in the 2020 presidential and 2021 New York City mayoral primaries. Earlier this month, Yang founded the Forward Party, a political action committee that seeks to form a political party that will ease the political polarization and reform the U.S. political and economic systems.

Yang now wants the Forward Party to become a political force that stands for rational regulation of cryptocurrencies. “I don’t think it’s realistic to expect that you can do your own thing entirely. There will have to be some regulation,” he said on the Bankless podcast, “but you want to do it the right way, the intelligent way.”

Politicians respond to resources and incentives, Yang said, claiming that this is what the crypto industry should focus on in the immediate future. “Lobbying works,” he said, insisting the industry needed to dedicate money and resources in order to skew the authorities’ incentives in favor of crypto.

During the 2020 presidential elections, Yang popularized the idea of universal basic income (UBI), a financial transfer concept where all citizens of a given population regularly receive a set and equal amount of money from the government without a means test. However, when he tried to test UBI on a smaller scale, he ran into problems with banks. 

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“The banking system is broken,” he stated, arguing that cryptocurrencies could be a much better way of distributing UBI. He said:

“Cryptocurrency is one path to UBI. When I talk to people in the cryptocurrency community, some of them love the idea of alleviating poverty through cryptocurrency. You can get that resource in people’s hands much more seemingly, and you can do it via different digital currencies or tokens. So there are a lot of people working in that direction.”

Yang also said that he believes the crypto community is a “sleeping giant” that could achieve significant targets if it focused in any particular direction. However, he thinks the community needs an ambassador to “humanize” the industry before the public’s eyes. He said:

“If you want to convert people’s perception of the crypto community, you’re going to need a human being, an ambassador, who then goes out there and pounds the message and conveys the qualities you want to be conveyed in a way that will humanize both the community and the industry.”

Yang has been an avid supporter of the crypto industry for some time. During the 2021 mayoral primaries, he promised to make New York City a Bitcoin and crypto hub if he was elected mayor. He also accepted crypto donations as part of his 2020 presidential campaign.

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Democrat Andrew Yang Wants New York City to Be a Hub For Bitcoin and Crypto

Democratic candidate running for the office of New York City Mayor, Andrew Yang has expressed his willingness to turn the city into a hub for Bitcoin (BTC), and other cryptocurrencies.

Democrat Andrew Yang Wants New York City to Be a Hub For Bitcoin and Crypto

Revealing his plan via Twitter, Yang said that “as mayor of NYC – the world’s financial capital – I would invest in making the city a hub for BTC and other cryptocurrencies,” a statement that has garnered comments from crypto Twitter.

It is not uncommon to find Bitcoin featuring as a subject of political campaigns in America today. The digital currency was largely accepted by some campaign organizations in the past election, and the first digital currency was also recently featured in an education campaign involving Spanish lawmakers.

The adoption of Bitcoin is gearing beyond just a retail adoption today, key publicly listed companies including MicroStrategy Incorporated, Paypal Holdings, and much recently Tesla Inc are beginning to take a decisive position placing Bitcoin on their balance sheets, and in their key business operation.

Andrew Yang’s Plans Is Similar To Mayor Suarez’s Latest Moves

While Bitcoin is yet to adjust to the embrace of this class of investors, public officials including Miami Mayor, Francis Suarez have been rolling out policies to make Bitcoin more engrafted into the operations of the city. Suarez who believes Bitcoin will be the “biggest story for next few years,” is set to implement strategies through which Bitcoin acceptance can go mainstream in the city of Miami.

Amongst the ways Suarez hopes to achieve this is to give its city employees the opportunity to receive their salaries in Bitcoin. Secondly, the city is considering local fees and taxes to be paid in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Through Mayor Suarez’s strides, Miami may be the first to invest its Treasury Reserve in Bitcoin, while creating other specific means to encourage more direct engagement from crypto-based companies.

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Andrew Yang says he’ll transform NYC into a Bitcoin hub if elected mayor

Andrew Yang, the Democratic Party front-runner in the race to be New York’s next mayor said he would transform New York City into “a hub for BTC and other cryptocurrencies” noting the city to be “the world’s financial capital.”

The former presidential candidate made the comment in a tweet earlier today which drew a flurry of mixed reactions, with some proclaiming it to be a campaign-selling maneuver and others equating it to political suicide.

The most unifying reaction, however, was the demand that Yang use his powers, if elected, to end the BitLicense, enacted by the New York Department of Financial Services. Meltem Demirors, CSO of digital assets management company CoinShares, suggested Yang would need to deal with bo high state taxes and the Bitlicense to make his plan a reality.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Miami mayor Francis Suarez discussed the possibility of paying city employees in Bitcoin to encourage cryptocurrency adoption in the area. Yang actually floated a similar idea in a Sept. 2019 interview, describing the benefits of a government-issued, digitally-based “social currency” which could be exchanged 1:1 with the U.S. dollar.

Yang is currently is leading the Democratic field in popularity and name recognition among voters according to recent polling that saw him streets ahead of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

In sharp contrast to most of his political peers, Yang has vocalized his support for Bitcoin several times in the two years he has been on the mainstream media’s radar. His outspoken beliefs have earned him the title of “Best President for Bitcoin” from some in the cryptocurrency community.

New York has a tumultuous relationship with Bitcoin. The introduction of the BitLicense in 2015 was initially regarded as something of a disaster, potentially stifling the innovation of fintech by imposing draconian restrictions on cryptocurrency use. By 2020, however, the fruits of regulation were paying off with the regulatory clarity under the Bitlicense enabling corporate giants like PayPal, Gemini and Coinbase to attract the deep pockets of Wall Street.

In 2019, during the lead up to his presidential run, Yang argued that congress lacks the basic knowledge required to enact effective cryptocurrency legislation, and that countries which are ahead of the U.S. in regulation will eventually “(dictate) the rules that we’ll need to follow once we catch up.”

Yang was reportedly on the short list of potential nominees to fill the Secretary of Commerce position under the Biden administration. Receiving just 0.45% of the vote in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary, Yang dropped out of the race on Feb. 11 2020, endorsing Biden the following month. In January he announced he was running for Mayor of New York.