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Andrew Yang, a former candidate for U.S. president and New York City mayor, is on a barnstorming tour of… Denver.
Long an advocate of tech innovation, Yang stopped by the ETHDenver conference and hackathon to pitch his latest project: Lobby3 DAO. Speaking directly to the audience, many of whom have only recently gotten a taste of crypto, Yang urged them to get politically active. "We need you to lean in and help lead," he said.
His preferred mechanism for doing so is Lobby3, which launched this week. The project, co-founded by Yang along with campaign staffers and others, describes itself as a "Web3 community designed to give the people a stronger voice in Washington, D.C." Those who buy DAO tokens with Ethereum can use them to collectively engage with policymakers on issues from financial inclusion and decentralized finance to poverty alleviation. In effect, it's a lobbying organization for Web3 users—not necessarily the crypto industry behind it.
While Yang is aligning his efforts with the Blockchain Association and other trade associations, he believes that the real power lies with the people: "If you think this is some problem that some industry heavyweight can just solve, that's not the problem we're facing right now."
He painted a picture of a Congress that's wary of hearing from Goliaths such as Coinbase, which it believes have a vested interest in things staying as they are. At the same time, he sees room to break through with average legislators. "Just imagine total confusion, and you are there," he added.
Other political personalities have popped by ETHDenver this week to talk about what steps governments are taking to embrace crypto innovation, among them Colorado Governor Jared Polis and Sunayna Tuteja, chief innovation officer at the Federal Reserve. But Yang is impatient and agitating for more to be done.
"The world is kind of going to shit," he said. Nonetheless, he retains his optimism, stating that "things can change very quickly, both positively and negatively."
To get there with Web3 and crypto, he has a rallying cry: "Let's make it so people can see the benefit of these technologies in the real fucking world as quickly as possible."