Several top US crypto players, including Coinbase and Circle, have teamed up to launch an advocacy group aiming to be the voice of digital currency and blockchain companies, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. Called Blockchain Association, the new entity wants to represent crypto industry interests before US lawmakers and regulators.
Coinbase, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, and Circle, a blockchain-based payment solutions provider and now owner of the Poloniex trading platform, have been joined by the likes of Digital Currency Group, which has interests in various crypto-related assets, including virtual coin payment provider Bitpay. Founding members also include venture capital outfit Polychain, and technology startup Protocol Labs.
“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,” Mike Lempres, Coinbase chief legal and risk officer, said as quoted by the Washington Post.
Ex-Overstock blockchain lobbyist Kristin Smith will take a leading role in the association by mapping out its strategy. Smith has served as a key aide to Olympia J. Snowe, the former long-running Republican Senator from Maine.
“I've been spending a lot of time doing a lot of the basic education work in this [crypto] space. I'm excited to focus exclusively on these issues.”
Marvin Ammori, currently general counsel of Protocol Labs, and tech investor Josh Mendelsohn will also join the Blockchain Association, as per Politico information. Mendelsohn is also the founder of Hangar, a company offering technological solutions to the public sector
The Blockchain Association launch comes at a time of intense regulatory and political crypto scrutiny in the US. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has issued several cease-and-desist orders against alleged virtual currencies fraudulent schemes, while Congress has debated crypto challenges in special hearings.
The Blockchain Association is not the first crypto lobbying body. The Chamber of Digital Commerce was established in 2014 with a goal to advocate blockchain technology. Digital Currency Group is part of that organization as well.