The world of lobbying has taken a rather unexpected turn–with the Washington Post reporting that a collection of cryptocurrency firms are looking to formulate a D.C. based lobbying group. According to the publication, the team of cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiasts are looking to target regulatory bodies and federal lawmakers who have a vested interest in the industry.
The first-ever lobbying group if its kind, the suitably-named Blockchain Association will be made up of well-known cryptocurrency firms and technology veterans. The Washington Post explains that initial backers include major cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and Goldman Sachs-backed investment firm Circle. Other names that have been mentioned include Protocol Labs, Digital Currency Group and Polychain Capital—illustrating a diverse breadth of cryptocurrency stakeholders.
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The Blockchain Association has already made their first recruitment catch, taking on Kristin Smith. Smith was previously an aide to ex-Maine Senator Olympia Snowe, before moving on to a lobbying role for major online retailer Overstock. Interestingly, Overstock began accepting Bitcoin as a payment method in 2014, meaning that Smith has tangible experience across the governmental, lobbying and cryptocurrency sectors.
Those involved in U.S. policymaking have become accustomed to a range of issues pertinent to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology over the past 12 months, much of which was in response to the unprecedented growth that the industry experienced during the crypto-craze of late 2017.
While on the one hand, regulatory bodies are concerned with the ever-present stories of scams, pump and dump schemes and a lack of investor safeguards, at the same time they do not want to hinder technological innovation. As a result, the lobbying group will aim to provide a voice for cryptocurrency firms that want to do things by the regulatory book, rather than attempt to avoid it. The circumvention of regulatory approval is something that the likes of Uber and Airbnb have previously attempted, ultimately leading to a range of ongoing legal disputes with domestic regulators—both inside and outside of the U.S. Therefore, the Blockchain Association hopes to ensure that blockchain entities get the backing of policymakers.
One of the first issues that the Blockchain Association hopes to tackle is with regards to cryptocurrency taxation, something that is still a grey area in the U.S. Moreover, they will also look to ease the concerns of policymakers on issues such as anti-money laundering and KYC safeguards. With news of the lobbying group only surfacing yesterday, it will be interesting to see if the Association can tempt more blockchain heavyweights in to the alliance.
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