DeFi on the Poll: Yearn Developer Matt West Is Working for Congress
First a MakerDAO lobbyist, now a candidate from Yearn.
As regulatory storm clouds gather over Washington and crypto advocates try to get a louder voice in US politics, a developer from Yearn.Finance is running for Congress on a pro-crypto platform.
However, he may need the help of the Decentralized Financial Community (DeFi) if he hopes to win.
On October 12, Matt West declared his candidacy for Oregon’s newly established US 6th House District. West has a Ph.D. from the University of Texas in chemical engineering with a focus on renewable energies and works for technology giant Intel in manufacturing.
In an interview with CoinDesk last month, West said he got on a side job at Yearn last year.
“I was extremely bored that every day is the same, so I started stretching my brain a bit, teaching myself solidity, working with Yearn, partnered and won their hackathon last year – we integrated Hegic, to do this now – dead safe, “he said.
Until recently, he worked with the lossless lottery protocol PoolTogether team on Yearn’s stablecoin yield farming strategies.
PoolTogether founder Leighton Cusack recently went on Twitter to express his support for West’s candidacy:
I really enjoyed working with @mattdwest and am excited to support his run around the house! https://t.co/QclAdWY7ET
– Leighton (@ lay2000lbs) October 16, 2021
West is known as perhaps the first DeFi-competent candidate to run for office and is certainly the first DeFi developer to launch a campaign.
It’s a welcome development for proponents who believe that recent legislative moves – like a change to an infrastructure law that made an Ethereum node nearly impossible to operate – are out of control and destructive.
In fact, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) Berated Krypto’s “shadowy supercoders” over the summer – a label West proudly wears.
“You know, when Warren said that, I said, ‘She’s not wrong,'” he joked.
But while many potential crypto contestants are generally focused on one topic, West says the seeds for his run were sown years ago, and his platform reflects that.
“My state is on fire all the time, there are federal attacks, there are outside protesters like the Proud Boys who come in to start riots – there was a rupture,” he told CoinDesk of his decision to run.
Make a difference
A growing number of crypto advocates have been playing with runs in the wake of recent government scrutiny.
Messari founder Ryan Selkis is currently threatening to run for the Senate in 2024.
If you’re wondering when I actually decided to run for the Senate, it was when those fuckers came to my event and didn’t buy a ticket and handed one of the speakers a subpoena.
More war against our runaway regulatory state.
– Ryan Selkis (@twobitidiot) September 20, 2021
Popular crypto talk show host and proud Alabaman Brian Krogsgard, better known as Ledger, has also publicly considered running for the Senate.
Read more: Near-Retiree Compromise Proposal Fueled But Crypto Shows DC Is Staying Here To Stay
While events in the cryptosphere spurred both Selkis and Krogsgard to action, West says his decision came to fruition after seeing the crackdown on protests against Black Lives Matter.
“I live in the suburbs of Portland and my city has been through hell and back for the past few years. To see the federal government come in and kidnap our civilians in unmarked vans and take them to unknown locations – that was incredibly terrifying, ”he said.
These views may at first seem at odds with the crypto-brother culture, but West argues that people who contribute to technology wear a variety of ideological stripes.
“Crypto is an interesting place. There are die-hard libertarians and people trying to create a universal basic income in the same area, ”he said. “It’s a big tent for the Republicans.”
Unlike Krogsgard and Selkis, West is not just talking about an escape: He has reported to the responsible authorities, hired a dedicated campaign manager and paid for legal advice in connection with accepting crypto donations out of his own pocket.
“This is not a vanity project for me. I want to make a difference and if I can’t do it like that, I’ll find another way, ”he said.
Know your neighbor
Something remains in the air as to who will be the competition from West, as the boundaries of Oregon’s 6th Ward were not set until September 27th.
“It’s a brand new district so we don’t know exactly who will be running yet. We’ll wait and see – it’ll be a vacant seat, so more of a competitive area code than a competitive general, I would guess, “West said.
However, he believes his positions will end up being well aligned with a strongly democratic district.
“My current politics are pretty left-wing,” he said, noting that he has the “pro union formation, pro living wage” views and that he vocalizes the importance of tackling global climate change – a well-known Bugaboo for environmentalists who use crypto often view with suspicion, if not downright hostility.
Read more: How DeFi can help turn climate change into investable capital
However, he doesn’t think climate activists will hold his crypto credentials in front of him.
“I think my chances are pretty good when you add that I’ve been in Oregon for a while, doing graduate school research on global warming and designing for my job at Intel’s research and development facility.” future manufacturing processes – I have academic, global warming and industrial experience. “
Money is important
West is quick to admit that his chances as a relative underdog depend primarily on what he can increase.
“It’s really about riding the momentum – it’s a sad fact of politics that early money could determine the problem,” he said.
He began his campaign by “investing a little to get started and self-financing” including hiring staff and doing preliminary research.
Now that he’s stated, however, he needs community support – he even announced his run on Twitter until his campaign and BitPay managed to break through the legal hurdles surrounding crypto donations.
I’m EXTREMELY excited to announce my run for US House # OR6. I’m a scientist running for Congress as the first #DeFi developer. If you want to prove to the U.S. government that #Crypto matters, please donate via BitPay today! Https: //t.co/8KpMkzSOjX
– Matt West (@mattdwest) October 16, 2021
“It was a big deal for me to be accepting crypto donations from the start of the campaign. There are a few people who are crypto-friendly and accept donations, but as someone coming straight out of the crypto community as a developer and contributor, it wasn’t just a marketing gimmick, “he said. “I wanted to show the crypto community that they are important to me.”