Former Democratic presidential hopeful and disgraced New York mayoral candidate has a new dream job: web3 lobbyist.
The well-meaning charlatan made the announcement on Twitter where he claimed he’d recently realized, “the most profound opportunity to fight poverty lies in web3 technologies.” Now, Yang claims he will attempt to use blockchain-based crowdfunding efforts to influence favorable policy on Capitol Hill and “educate” policymakers through his recently formed “Lobby3” decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).
Members will have to purchase a newly-minted “Lobby3 token” to participate in the DAO. Those tokens come in three different tiers ranging between .07 and 40 Ethereum. For context, at the time of writing 40 Ethereum comes out to a little over $116,000. For all that, these “founders” will supposedly get the priveledges of voting on five different speaking events for Yang to participate in, have access to policymakers, and join a network of “Web3 influencers.”
In theory, the funds sucked up from all those tokens will go towards wining and dining politicians until they’re made to see the light and support the DAO’s favored web3 policies. Eventually, Lobby3 says it aims to “forge partnerships” with governors, mayors, and other major players in states to run Web3 pilot programs, the specifics of which remain unclear.
“Lobby3 will fund issue-based advocacy organizations in DC to build the core advocacy infrastructure,” Yang said in a statement. “These organizations will bring together lobbyists and stakeholders with relationships with the key committees and players on Capitol Hill.”
In his pitch, Yang lauded the massive amounts of money thrust into blockchain-based initiatives in recent years and said he feared the biggest threat to Web3’s long-term success would come from “ill-informed policies from leaders who have yet to understand the benefits of the future that is possible.”
Yang has spoken glowingly about blockchain technology in the past and even expressed support for a cryptocurrency regulatory agency. During his failed NYC mayoral race, Yang at one point said he aimed to turn the city into a “hub” for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Ironically, New York’s current mayor has doubled down on that sentiment, though with about as much grace as a toddler learning to walk. Yang has also made cryptocurrencies an important element of his recently formed third party “Forward,” which is apparently still a thing.
Yang said he decided to base the lobbying efforts around a DAO so members could vote on policy ideas and community properties, though it remains uncertain whether those tokens will actually mean anything in practice. Even though members will technically have votes, Yang said lobbyists with expertise will still have the authority to act quickly and independently to influence policy. It’s still early, but under those conditions Lobby3, like other past DAOs, looks more like a fancy GoFundMe than a revolutionary online democracy.
“Simply put, all Lobby3 token holders will have voting rights to determine the community’s policy preferences and prioritize our direction, and Tier II and III members will have the ability to propose new policies and ideas for the community to vote on and/or participate in,” Yang said.
As for the DAO’s financials, the company’s website claims 70% of funds will go towards direct advocacy efforts and infrastructure, while 20% would go towards member perks, engagement, and “operational expenses.” The last 10% will go towards building out the website NFTs and DAOs. It’s far too early to call any of this a scam per se, but given recent events documented here, it’s probably a safe bet to remain skeptical.
DAOs can take many forms but they commonly operate as a sort of co-op in which members buy tokens that grant them voting power. DAO boosters see this as a more democratic way to run... well, you name it. But they can also get pretty messy. In one recent example, someone was able to buy up enough governance tokens in “Build Finance DAO” to unilaterally change the rules and grant themselves the authority to take everyone else’s money.
In a way, Yang’s new schtick as a crypto sycophant actually makes more sense than his previous two ventures. Prior to his 2020 campaign run, Yang ran a series of successful startups before becoming CEO of test prep company Manhattan Prep. And despite falling short in his past two campaigns, Yang proved unequivocally that he’s a damn good fundraiser.