There is a saying, ‘If you can’t beat them, join them!’, which is apparently what Matt West from Yearn.Finance, and formerly of MakerDao, is trying to do. The Yearn developer is running for Congress in the USA and has said that he may need the help of the decentralized finance (DeFi) community to win.
West declared his candidacy for Oregon’s newly formed 6th U.S. House district on 12th October. He holds a Ph.D from the University of Texas in chemical engineering with a focus on renewable energy, and works at tech giant Intel. Yearn is his side gig. He taught himself Solidity and won the Yearn hackathon in 2020 and lately has been working with the team from no-loss lottery protocol PoolTogether on Yearn’s stablecoin yield farming strategies.
West is the “first DeFi-literate candidate to run for office, and is certainly the first DeFi developer to launch a campaign,” according to Coindesk.
DeFi and crypto needs inside support
The fact that West is running is good news for DeFi platforms, and has been prompted by “recent actions from legislators – such as an amendment to an infrastructure bill that nearly rendered running an Ethereum node legally impossible – are out of touch and destructive.” However, West is not just focused on protecting crypto and DeFi, he’s also campaigning to improve his state of Oregon. He told Coindesk, “My state’s constantly on fire, there’s federal overreach, there’s outside protestors like the Proud Boys coming in to start riots – it came to a breaking point.”
Messari founder to run for US Senate
He’s not the only crypto advocate to consider entering politics. Messari founder Ryan Selkis is currently threatening a 2024 run for Senate because of recent regulatory scrutiny. He tweeted in September: “If you’re wondering when I actually decided to run for Senate, it was when these fuckers came to my event, didn’t buy a ticket, and served one of the speakers a subpoena. Enough talk. More war on our out of control regulatory state.” Those who didn’t buy a ticket were from regulatory organizations, in case you’re wondering.
West to tackle crypto regulation and wider political issues
But West’s decision is more based on a broader political landscape. He says his decision to run came after he saw the crackdown on the Black Lives Matter protests. He pointed out that “individuals contributing to the crypto technology sport a variety of ideological stripes. “This isn’t a vanity project for me. I want to make a difference, and if I can’t do it like this I’ll find another way,” he said.
Now that he’s declared, however, he says he needs the community’s support and even postponed announcing his run on Twitter until his campaign and BitPay managed to overcome the legal hurdles presented by crypto donations.
He wants to be the first DeFi developer in Congress, and asks the community to help him achieve that by donating through BitPay.
He told Coindesk, “It was a big deal for me to accept crypto donations from the start of the campaign. There are a few folks who run as crypto-friendly and take donations, but as someone who is coming directly from the crypto community as a developer and contributor it wasn’t just a marketing gimmick,” he said. “I wanted to show to the crypto community that they matter to me.”