Over the last few weeks, there has been a decline in the price of bitcoin compared to the previous year’s meteoric heights. This has not stopped industry officials from launching a charm offensive targeting federal lawmakers and regulators, per a Washington Post report.
Several high-profile cryptocurrency companies and tech veterans in the nation are forming an industry lobbying group called the Blockchain Association, to tackle issues related to the technology and digital assets central to them. The trade association will be the first group in Washington representing all parties (entrepreneur and investors) who are building off the technology behind bitcoin.
Popular crypto exchanges like Coinbase and Circle are joining the initial push as founding members, as well as technology startups such as Filecoin creator Protocol Labs and investment funds like Polychain Capital and others.
The Blockchain Association plans to be the industry’s lobbying arm in Washington on policy issues, providing a voice for mainstream companies that want to work with policymakers, rather than one that wants to circumvent current laws. Its first order of business will be addressing how cryptocurrencies are defined under U.S. tax laws and explaining how anti-money-laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) regulations apply to the industry.
This is not the various first-time industry consortia have been formed. Over the past two years, blockchain companies, financial institutions, and leading banks have built different associations in countries like Australia, China, and the U.S. to ensure the compliance of any developer of blockchain technology within the realm of finance with local regulations and policies.
In 2017, Coinsecure, Unocoin, SearchTrade, and Zebpay — some of India’s leading bitcoin companies — banded together and formed an organization called Blockchain and Virtual Currency Association of India. This was instigated by the warnings issued against cryptocurrency by Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
In February, an independent trade body was formed by seven leading cryptocurrency companies operating in Britain. It was tasked with developing self-regulatory standards for the cryptocurrency industry.
The Blockchain Association aims to portray itself as a voice for mainstream companies that want to work within the political system and to become the cryptocurrency industry’s top lobbying organization in Washington.
Coinbase’s chief legal and risk officer, Mike Lempres, said the Blockchain Association is “an effort to get the preeminent companies” together so that policymakers know that appropriate regulations are welcomed.
“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,” he added.