Crypto Companies Form Washington-Based Blockchain Association

Blockchain, Group, News | September 12, 2018 By:

Major blockchain and crypto companies have joined forces to form the Blockchain Association, the first fully fledged lobbying group in Washington representing the blockchain industry.

The Blockchain Association’s founding members include crypto exchange Coinbase, technology startup Protocol Labs, cryptocurrency platform Circle, as well as the Digital Currency Group and Polychain Capital. The lobbying group’s objective is to create a pro-innovation environment for the industry, meeting the growing global demand for accessible, transparent and democratic financial and technical systems. The association will unite the projects, investors, exchanges and foundations to advance the future of the entire blockchain ecosystem.

“We’ll foster collaboration between the community and industry leaders, educate policymakers and the public on the benefits of blockchain and related technologies, and advocate for public policy that cultivates and enables innovation and improves lives,” the association said. “The Blockchain Association will be a liaison to policymakers: we’ll advocate for our community and the opportunities presented by our technologies, and encourage regulatory solutions that protect consumers and support innovation. We seek policies that support the creation and use of digital tokens and assets, and capital formation and trading through robust exchanges.”

The organization’s immediate goals are to engage directly with elected officials and regulators, create campaigns that engage the blockchain industry in their work, and build coalitions with other organizations to create a broader coordinated community. The group will be hiring the people who can deliver against the Blockchain Association’s vision.

One of the association’s first employees is Kristin Smith, who was an aide to then-Sen. Olympia J. Snowe and went on to lobby on blockchain issues for Overstock. She will be responsible for the strategy that drives the organization’s education efforts, advocacy campaigns, and events. She will also serve as the spokesperson for the association.

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

Mike Lempres, Coinbase’s chief legal and risk officer, said 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,” Lempres said.

In a statement, Jerry Brito, executive director of Washington-based cryptocurrency think tank Coin Center, said that Coin Center was happy to see this organization stand up.

“It’s good to have more voices advocating for things we agree about,” said Brito. “But probably more importantly for us, a lot of folks project ‘trade association’ onto Coin Center, and we’re decidedly not that. When we get questions about the industry, we can send them to these folks.”