Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has been at odds with the crypto industry for years, criticizing it for its use in illicit finance and for being full of scammers who take advantage of retail investors, and she may be getting a challenger who is more supportive of digital assets this coming election. 

According to the Boston Globe, Jim Conroy, a key Republican operative, has been working with John Deaton, who is taking a “serious look” at entering the race. 

Deaton is the founder Crypto Law, which, according to the site, works to “provide a central location for finding public information, links to news articles, and probing analysis on the legal, regulatory and policy issues related to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.”

Deaton did not return a request for comment about whether he was running. 

Sharp Critic of SEC, Gensler

Deaton has taken an interest in crypto for years, including submitting an amicus brief in April 2021 pertaining to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s December 2020 legal filing against Ripple Labs. 

In his brief, Deaton claimed that the SEC viewing the sale of Ripple as a securities violation was “ridiculous because the same statement equally applies to Bitcoin, Ether, XRP, or even gold or silver investors. The language utilized by the SEC in the Complaint is both reckless and dangerous as it could be applied not only to every cryptocurrency but every commodity.”

His posts on X, formerly known as Twitter, also reflect a frustration with how the government has approached crypto regulation, or lack thereof. 

In a recent post, he criticized SEC Commissioner Gary Gensler. 

The post read, “He has been proven wrong on the law over and over, now he’s basically waging some kind of propaganda war against an industry because he can’t win in court to get crypto under his regulatory thumb. How is this guy in charge of protecting our markets?”

Crypto Advocates Emerging in Politics

If Deaton chooses to jump into the race, it would signal yet another instance of crypto advocates flexing their muscles electorally. Groups like the Super PAC Fairshake, which raised over $85 million from crypto leaders such as Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Coinbase, and Ripple, have been spending against various candidates, such as Katie Porter in California. While the cause of Fairshake’s opposition to Porter is unclear, it could be because she has been an advocate for regulating the industry further to protect consumers. 

Warren has strong support in Massachusetts, but PACs focused on crypto-positive candidates have been wading into elections of late. 

After a down couple of years, between bitcoin price cratering, NFTs falling off, and the FTX implosion, it seems like crypto advocacy may see a resurgence in 2024.