With the primary races of Wyoming in the books and the Wyoming Blockchain Stampede coming up virtually next month, a string of successful wins by alt-right candidates included a shocking upset of the Majority Whip Tyler Lindholm (R-Sundance). Lindholm was the Co-Chair of the Wyoming Blockchain Task Force in 2018 and 2019 and a sponsor or co-sponsor on several of the blockchain-enabling laws enacted into Wyoming, a state that is celebrated for its forward-thinking legislation by the crypto and blockchain industry.
According to the Star-Tribune, a local paper in Wyoming, the ‘alt-right’ or conservative Republican victories were ‘stunning’ upsets that shifts power in Cheyenne – ahead of one of the most pivotal legislatures in state history. The Star-Tribune noted with few Republicans facing Democrats or third-party challengers in the general election, the primary results will no doubt have significant implications on policy in the state of Wyoming.
The Star-Tribune reported the Republican Party leadership and a menagerie of conservative advocacy organizations like the Wyoming Gun Owners have sought to rid the party of more moderate Republicans who don’t adhere to a clear majority of the state party’s platform, branding them as ‘Republicans In Name Only’. After the election, Lindholm stated, “The Republican Party is a big tent…The majority of voters (in District 1) supports social conservatism.”
In attempting to better understand how the leading state offering a framework friendly to crypto and blockchain might be impacted, Lindholm commented he was, “100% confident the [blockchain] laws are safe and secure. From the money left in my campaign, I will focus rest of funds to candidates that will attract business to Wyoming.”
Lindholm had attempted to pass a cryptocurrency bill in 2016 that was defeated before Wyoming became the darling of the industry. However, in 2018, a sudden influx of young, tech-savvy crypto industry representatives, diverse faces that stood out in the halls of the Wyoming state capitol, supported the work Lindholm had been striving for just two years earlier.
Thanks to his efforts, two big players in the cryptocurrency sector, Kraken and IOHK, were major sponsors at the Wyoming Hackathon in Laramie last September, and both had made commitments to move jobs and operations in Wyoming. Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, had stated, “When a politician takes a chance and gives you open arms and embraces your industry, you give them something back”. When Lindholm announced his candidacy as the Liberty Cowboy, he originally was running for the seat unopposed.
Chip Neiman, Chairman of the Crook County Republican Party in Wyoming who defeated Lindholm, did not immediately respond to questions on crypto and blockchain. Neiman did note to his supporters he is taking a deep dive into the many issues facing the district he will represent. Neiman, endorsed by the Wyoming Conservative Alliance, expressed the cornerstone of his platform on his Facebook campaign page was to, “promote and defend traditional family values recognized in the Republican Party Platform. Family – God’s greatest masterpiece. Vote your values – vote Chip Neiman on or before August 18th.”
In the meantime, Lindholm, at only 37, probably has a great future in the crypto and blockchain industry if he desired, whether in politics in the future or in the industry itself. There is likely no state legislator who fully understands every aspect of blockchain law as Lindholm does, which makes him an extremely valuable commodity for jurisdictions around the world. In true ‘Crypto Cowboy’ style, Lindholm finished his interview he graciously provided right after his defeat by saying he rides “for the brand and the people of Wyoming…Wyoming is a great place to do business….The best place to do business in the world”.