Top Crypto Firms Create DC Lobbying Organization

A group comprised of Blockchain funds, exchanges, and startups gears up to lobby Washington, D.C. legislators via the new Blockchain Association.

In a report by the Washington Post on September 11, the new organization will concentrate on education and legal changes in an attempt to stabilize the relationship between cryptocurrency startups and legislators. The association’s founding members include San Francisco-based crypto exchange Coinbase, crypto finance company Circle, New York-based venture capital firm Digital Currency Group, San Francisco-based Polychain Capital, and California-based Protocol Labs.

Kristin Smith, a former Senate aide and Overstock.com blockchain lobbyist, is one of the organization’s first employees. In an interview, Smith says that she is expected to “guide” the group as it “starts out,” adding:

“I’ve been spending a lot of time doing a lot of the basic education work in this space … I’m excited to focus exclusively on these issues.”

According to a report by Politico on September 11, Marvin Ammori, general counsel of Protocol Labs, and Josh Mendelsohn, Hangar founder, will serve as the group’s advisers.

Meanwhile, Mike Lempres, chief legal and risk officer of Coinbase, tells the Washington Post that the group aims to unite companies in order to advocate for reasonable regulation. Lempres adds:

“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.”

According to the Post, the Blockchain Association will be particularly focused on tax law and how the know-your-customer/anti-money laundering (KYC/AML) rules relate to cryptocurrency exchanges and startups.

For his part, Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center, tells the Post that the think tank is “happy to see this organization stand up,” further stating:

“It’s good to have more voices advocating for things we agree about.”

Brito is referring to the cryptocurrency industry.