Although prices for bitcoin has been down, bitcoin-enthusiasts have plenty of positive news to be happy about. This year alone we have talks about a bitcoin ETF, bitcoin mutual funds, institutional custodial services, and now a crypto lobbying arm in Washington DC.
The Washington Post announced yesterday the formation of a lobbying group, formally known as the Blockchain Association. The group is represented by some of cryptocurrencies biggest names such as Coinbase, Circle, and Protocol Labs, as well as notable investors such as Digital Currency Group and Polychain Capital.
The group has already made its first hire: Kristin Smith, who supported then-senator Olympia J. Snowe and went on to lobby on blockchain issues for Overstock.com.
“I’ve been spending a lot of time doing a lot of the basic education work in this space,” said Smith, who is expected to guide the association through its early steps. “I’m excited to focus exclusively on these issues.”
The lobbying organization will reportedly represent entrepreneurs and investors who are engaged in blockchain-based projects, address policy issues and the treatment of cryptocurrency by U.S. tax law, as well as work closely with lawmakers on AML and KYC policy development within the industry.
Mike Lempres, Coinbase’s Chief Legal and Risk Officer, further explained:
“The Blockchain Association is an effort to get the preeminent companies in the space together so [policymakers] know they’re hearing from companies that welcome regulation when it’s appropriate. We’re not companies looking to game the system, but trying to develop a legal and regulatory system that’ll stand the test of time.”
“We’re happy to see this organization stand up,” said executive director of the Coin Center Jeff Brito. “It’s good to have more voices advocating for things we agree about. But probably more importantly for us, a lot of folks project ‘trade association’ onto Coin Center, and we’re decidedly not that. When we get questions about the industry, we can send them to these folks.”
This isn’t the first time blockchain advocates banded together to form a non-profit organization to represent cryptocurrencies in the political field. Back in September 2012, an American non-profit organization known as the Bitcoin Foundation formed to play a similar role. The group ultimately failed due to near-term insolvency issues and resignation of key members among other issues.
However, as Jerry Britto pointed out, “the cryptocurrency field is far more developed, with distinct sectors and interest groups”. To see so many notable crypto companies band together to form a lobbying-group is a sign of the industry’s growing maturity. If nothing else, it is a sign that cryptocurrency will not go down without a fight.
“B2B reporter – Content Manager – Contributor – Fintech – Blockchain – Cryptocurrency”
Simon Chou is a B2B reporter and content manager specializing in technology and finance. He has worked with many clients in the fintech and blockchain space. He holds investment positions in bitcoin and other large-cap cryptocurrencies, and has been reporting on cryptocurrency since 2017. Currently, Simon is the content manager for a major cryptocurrency exchange @HybridBlockHQ.