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Many big names in cryptocurrency, venture capital worlds are former Dem donors

By Robert Schmad

Big names in the cryptocurrency and venture capital worlds, some of whom are former Democratic donors, are throwing their support behind former President Donald Trump.

Venture capitalists David Sacks and Chamath Palihapitiya organized a high-dollar fundraiser for the former president Thursday night in San Francisco, raising $12 million for the Trump 47 Joint Fundraising Committee at a sold-out fundraiser where tickets cost up to $500,000 per couple. Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal, prolific tech investor Shervin Pishevar as well as Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, famous for their dispute with Mark Zuckerberg over the founding of Facebook, all attended the event, a source familiar with the fundraiser told the Daily Caller News Foundation

“In 2016, the number of people from Silicon Valley I knew who supported Trump was a sample of one, which was Peter [Thiel],” Jacob Helberg, a senior adviser to Palantir, told Reuters. “Today I count them in the dozens, if not more than that. Over the course of the past six months, we’ve started to see the dam break,” he continued.

Helberg recently made a $1 million donation to Trump’s 2024 reelection effort after previously supporting Democratic candidates.

“The social cost of supporting Trump isn’t as great as it was,” Helberg said of Silicon Valley society, many members of which see that “Trump was right on a lot of make-or-break issues for America.”

Palihapitiya, previously an executive at Facebook who now operates as a venture capitalist, was also a major supporter of Democrats, pouring $1.3 million into the party between 2011 and 2021 before fundraising for Trump, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Both former President Barack Obama’s campaigns and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign benefitted from Pishevar’s giving, with the investor lending cash and allowing his home to be used as a fundraising venue to help get Democrats elected, according to Deadline. Some Democrats, however, have cut ties with Pishevar following allegations of sexual misconduct, despite him having been a major donor to the party, as evidenced by Federal Election Commission (FEC) records. Pishevar also donated to Republican Senate candidates in Georgia in 2020.

“I just donated $300k to Trump,” Sequoia Capital partner and former Hillary Clinton donor Shaun Maguire wrote on X in May.

“I know that I’ll lose friends for this. Some will refuse to do business with me. The media will probably demonize me, as they have so many others before me. But despite this, I still believe it’s the right thing to do,” he continued.

Maguire cited President Joe Biden’s handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, his insufficient support for Israel and double standards in the media in covering Trump and Biden when explaining his decision to support Trump. Helberg also cited Biden’s approach to Israel in explaining his support for Trump.

Grewal’s partisan allegiances are less well-defined, with FEC records showing the cryptocurrency executive recently donating to both Republican and Democratic campaigns. Other Coinbase executives were also at the fundraiser, according to Reuters.

Support from Coinbase’s leadership and the Winklevoss twins, who run the cryptocurrency exchange platform Gemini, followed Biden’s veto of a congressional attempt to limit how the Securities and Exchange Commission could regulate digital currencies.

“That might have been just the final domino,” San Francisco tech executive Trevor Traina told Reuters, in reference to the veto. Both Sacks and Palihapitiya own significant amounts of cryptocurrency.

The crypto industry has broadly ramped up its efforts to influence policy, with super PACs tied to the crypto industry raising $102 million so far this cycle, according to Reuters. Fairshake, a large crypto-backed super PAC, spent over $10 million opposing Democratic California Rep. Katie Porter in the state’s Senate primary, campaign finance records show.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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