Ro Khanna crypto roundtable seeks industry inroads for White House and Democrats

The meeting comes amid major turmoil in the Democratic Party

Ro Khanna wants to save the $2 trillion crypto industry from a Trump takeover.

The congressman, a progressive Democrat who represents a district that includes the crypto-friendly confines of Silicon Valley, has been reaching out to top people in the digital asset industry, as well as Democratic lawmakers and White House officials, inviting them to an exclusive roundtable meeting in the nation’s capital next week, FOX Business has learned.

The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday; more than two-dozen people are expected to attend, including at least one representative of the White House as well as billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, a crypto investor and advocate. 


Trade publication Bitcoin Magazine was first to report on an email sent last month by Khanna’s office announcing its intent to host a meeting of policymakers and crypto industry leaders alongside Cuban sometime in "early July."

FOX Business has learned that industry representatives are flying in from around the country to take part in Wednesday’s event which is being organized by Khanna’s re-election campaign.

The fact that the details of the event have not been leaked, until now, is testament to the high degree of secrecy Khanna's campaign staff has asked participants to keep. For example, the exact location of the confab has yet to be disclosed to invitees, although some are guessing it will be held at one of a handful of hotels near the White House.

Rep. Ro Khanna

Democratic California Rep. Ro Khanna is seeking an executive roundtable in Washington, D.C., with some of the digital asset industry's top power brokers. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images / Getty Images)

A campaign staffer for Khanna did not respond to a request for comment.

"They haven't disclosed the location, and they will not tell us who is coming from the Biden Administration," said one attendee. "There has been a large degree of secrecy around this."

The reason for the furtiveness is a mystery in itself. Khanna is running for re-election in the fall; he's a tech enthusiast advocating for the advancement of crypto and blockchain technology as a vehicle for job creation in his constituency.


He was one of 71 Democrats in the House of Representatives who voted to pass the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act, also known as the FIT21 bill, to establish regulatory clarity for the digital asset industry. 

Yet his party has been late in embracing crypto as a potential voting block, while Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been openly engaging crypto enthusiasts since early May, promising to relieve the regulatory burden placed on the industry by President Biden's Securities and Exchange Commission.

Trump has made "ending Biden’s war on crypto" one of his campaign promises, sparking many pro-crypto voters, including some who voted for Biden in 2020, to pledge their allegiance and their money to him in the run-up to the election.

Donald Trump presidential debate

Former President Trump has pledged to end President Biden's so-called "war on crypto" if elected to a second term in office. (Photo by ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Trump is reportedly in talks to speak at Bitcoin 2024 - an industry event billed as "the world’s largest gathering of bitcoiners" - that will take place in Nashville later this month.

The former president’s pro-crypto rhetoric and his increasing support from the industry, including influential figures like Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, is sparking anti-Trump Democrats, like Khanna, to take the initiative and appeal directly to members of the White House.

According to one attendee, Biden's Chief of Staff Jeff Zients has been approached to attend Wednesday’s roundtable. 


But the meeting comes amid major turmoil in the Democratic Party following Biden's disastrous debate performance last Thursday and calls inside the party for him to step aside from running in the November election. Because of this upheaval, it is unclear whether Zients will attend the meeting or if another White House representative will opt to go.


Multiple key political figures, including former President Trump, are reportedly in talks to attend Bitcoin 2024, a large cryptocurrency-centric convention slated to be held in Nashville. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo / Reuters Photos)

White House advisor Carole Hause, who previously served as Director of Cybersecurity and Secure Digital Innovation on Biden's National Security Council, is said to have received an invitation. Hause, who co-authored Biden's executive order on cryptocurrencies in 2022, announced she was returning to the White House last month to serve as Special Advisor for Cybersecurity and Critical Infrastructure Policy.

Hause's reinstatement has been viewed by some as a sign that the White House is serious about focusing on cryptocurrency regulation. 

It's unclear if Hause is attending the event, and she did not respond to a request for comment. 

Other roundtable attendees include Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse, SkyBridge Capital founder and CEO Anthony Scaramucci, and former CFTC Chairman under Trump, Chris Giancarlo, who's attending on behalf of crypto firm Paxos, where he sits on the board of directors. 

Executives from crypto exchanges Coinbase and Kraken, stablecoin company Circle and tech-focused venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz are also planning to attend, as well as leadership from industry trade groups including The Blockchain Association and Crypto Council for Innovation.

While Khanna may be attempting to help his own party curry favor with crypto leaders, some say his motives may also be self-serving. 

Khanna, 47, could be looking to leverage the crypto vote to get him over the line come November when he faces off against 26-year-old Republican candidate Anita Chen in the general election for California’s 17th congressional district. Khanna is also said to be eyeing a future presidential bid.


"Consider that Khanna is gathering Mark Cuban, the crypto industry which has one of the largest super PACs, and has constantly portrayed himself over the years as the new face and direction of the progressive wing," said one crypto lobbyist who spoke on condition of anonymity. "He’s placing himself in a position to get the support of the crypto industry."