Crypto-Lobbyists in D.C. Fight For the Best Frameworks
A handful of cryptocurrency and blockchain lobbyists are working to promote and explain the technology to U.S lawmakers and regulators. The hope is to nurture the development of regulatory frameworks which will help the crypto-space, rather than hinder it.
The Blockchain Association
One of the capital’s newest lobbying groups, the Blockchain Association, launched officially in September with the goal of winning over federal lawmakers and U.S regulators. Its members include some of the largest exchanges and cryptocurrency venture capitalists including Coinbase and Polychain Capital.
Kristin Smith, director of external affairs for the Blockchain Association — and an ex-lobbyist for Overstock.com and Medici Ventures — told Forbes that membership inquiries have been at a “steady flow” since the official launch and the group hopes:
To get as many of the credible, thoughtful and compliant players in the space as possible to be our members.
The Virtual Commodity Association
Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss founded the Virtual Commodity Association (VCA) which launched in August. This association aspires to eventually become the base of a self-regulatory body for the industry It also has some of larger exchanges, including Bittrex and Bitstamp as members. Forbes reports the VCA has hired a “prominent lobby firm” to aid its influence in Washington.
Advocacy Groups New and Old
Two Republican lobbyists and ex-Capitol Hill employees Beau Rothschild and Brian Darling are also reportedly creating a potentially-named “Digital Currency Association.” The new group is expected to be announced at Money 20/20 Las Vegas in October.
In addition to slightly older cryptocurrency and blockchain trade and lobbying groups like the Chamber of Digital Commerce and Coin Center, more traditional business advocacy groups are becoming involved.
The U.S Chamber of Commerce, the most powerful businesses lobbying group in Washington is becoming more involved in cryptocurrency concerns. The Chamber called for regulatory clarity for initial coin offerings (ICOs) this summer.
The Challenge for Lobbyists
The task for these groups is not easy, the democratic ideals of cryptocurrency don’t always transfer to the existing financial and regulatory frameworks which currently exist.
Traditional lawmakers and regulators prefer the more controlled, centralized structures in place for fiat monetary practices. They often need a comprehensive introduction to the utilization and benefits of these new technologies. Cryptocurrency and blockchain developers and proponents don’t always agree with each other, so pushing for the right structures to suit all is a difficult task.
There is also concern that lobbying is the realm of larger firms, leaving smaller startups vital to the innovative nature of the cryptocurrency space without much influence or leverage.
While these efforts are currently happening in the U.S, in Europe, the European Union (EU) is hearing demands for clear frameworks which encourage innovation and growth in the space. The EU is waiting for a full analysis before deciding how it will proceed.
The stance of both the US and the EU may dictate the future success of the industry and influence the action of many more countries besides.
How much influence for the benefit of the space do you think lobbyists can exert in Washington?
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