Some of the largest United States-based players in the cryptocurrency space, together with tech industry veterans, are forming the Blockchain Association to better lobby for crypto-related policy changes in Washington D.C.
Crypto Industry Powerhouses Join Forces for Greater Purpose
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said back in June that bear markets such as the one cryptocurrencies are experiencing right now, create an “opportunity to keep making progress while everyone else gets distracted.” According to a new report from the Washington Post, the outspoken CEO and other crypto industry vets are doing exactly that.
Armstrong’s cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase joins the Goldman Sachs-backed Circle, along with tech startup Protocol Labs and big money investors like the Digital Currency Group and Polychain Capital, to form the Blockchain Association, which the Washington Post calls the first “fully fledged lobbying group in Washington representing entrepreneurs and investors who are building off the technology behind bitcoin.”
The Blockchain Association will be tasked with representing the entire cryptocurrency industry in Washington D.C., and the organization’s key focuses will be around working with federal regulators to shape future regulation. Proper regulation is said to be among the chief reasons institutional investors have been hesitant to enter the space, followed by a proper custody solution.
Blockchain Association: Shaping the Future of Cryptocurrency Policy
The Blockchain Association has its work cut out for it. The cryptocurrency market is new, unregulated, and not yet fully understood. United States lawmakers and regulators have taken a mostly hands-off stance with cryptocurrencies. However, in recent weeks, discussion around which cryptocurrencies could be deemed securities by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and the potential around fraud related to initial coin offerings, has raised concerns that further regulatory clarity is needed.
The new lobbying group will also address how cryptocurrencies are treated under U.S. tax law. Currently, cryptocurrencies are treated as property the same way real estate investments are treated. With cryptocurrencies arguably being more akin to traditional currencies than assets in how they’re used for transactions, the U.S. tax law is an archaic approach and requires a modern day revamp.
Other notable areas of interest for U.S. regulators that the Blockchain Association will address surround important anti-money-money laundering and know-your-customer policies.
“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,” Coinbase’s chief legal and risk office Mike Lempres explained.
Lobbying Group Makes Its First Hire
The Washington Post has also revealed that the newly formed Blockchain Association has hired Kristen Smith, former aide to Senator Olympia J. Snowe, and advisor at Thompson Coburn’s lobbying and policy group.
Smith, who says she’s spent a lot of time doing “basic education work” in the space, also spent time lobbying for Overstock.com on blockchain-related issues. Smith added that she’s “excited to focus exclusively on these issues.”
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