Leading crypto companies in the United States have teamed up to establish Blockchain Association – the first lobbying group in Washington. The formal announcement is set for later this week. According to the official blog post, the DC-based non-profit trade association, “will serve as the unified voice of the blockchain ecosystem.“
A report by Washington Post claims that founding members of the new organization include American crypto industry stalwarts Coinbase and Circle, alongside tech startup Protocol Labs. Prominent investors in the digital asset industry such as Digital Currency Group (owner of the crypto media leader CoinDesk) and Polychain Capital have also joined the fray.
The new partnership aims to establish a dialogue between the crypto companies and lawmakers and tackle policy issues such as legal status and tax laws. Also, the association will work to encourage collaboration between industry leaders and the community and educate both lawmakers and the public on the potential benefits of the blockchain technology.
Tech companies such as Uber and Airbnb have tried to find their way around working with regulators in recent years but it seems that the Blockchain Association is taking on a completely opposite path.
The group claims that “On the industry side, innovators face regulatory minefields. On the policy side, lawmakers must navigate trust and safety, security concerns, and consumer protection. Among the general public and members of the media, many people do not understand what blockchain is — and isn’t.“
Another important area will be developing anti-money-laundering and know-your-customer measures tailored specifically for the needs of crypto exchanges and startups. The immediate goals are, “to engage directly with elected officials and regulators, create campaigns that engage the blockchain industry in our work, and build coalitions with other organizations to create a broader, coordinated community.“
Mike Lempres, chief legal and risk officer at Coinbase commented that “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.“
The group has already made its first hire with Kristin Smith joining as the Director of External Affairs. Ms. Smith lobbied on blockchain issues for the online retailer Overstock.com which began accepting BTC payments back in 2014. She has also served as an aide to a then-Republican senator in the state of Maine.
Ms. Smith is expected to lead the group through its initial development phase as she claimed that, “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.“
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I have been following the crypto markets since mid 2017, just in time to witness the incredible surge of the digital asset industry. Fascinated by the potential of blockchain technology I’ve started to dig deeper and that’s how I ended up meeting the Toshi Times team. I hold a Political Science degree, therefore the crypto regulation development is particularly interesting for me. I’m also heavily involved with music, running my own label, a YouTube channel and working with distribution. People call blockchain the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and I believe it will change our daily lives in the coming years and we will have the front row seats to witness it.