This month, the Blockchain Association, crypto’s leading trade association in Washington D.C., marks its fifth anniversary. The lobby shop now has 114 member companies, per a press release today, including big names like Coinbase, Kraken, CoinFund, Pantera Capital, Ripple and Uniswap.
This is an excerpt from The Node newsletter, a daily roundup of the most pivotal crypto news on CoinDesk and beyond. You can subscribe to get the full newsletter here.
It has an unwavering mission to “advance the future of crypto in the United States, promoting the potential of blockchain technology and shaping policy that ensures its success,” the release said. And that’s surely something most of us can get behind, whether we’re working directly in crypto or observing it in the media. But these are tough times for crypto in the capital. Following the collapse of FTX last November, and a string of scandals preceding it, the industry is struggling to get its message across to lawmakers and regulators. Many members of Congress are openly hostile to crypto’s goals, and the days when Sam Bankman-Fried could get dinner with any big D.C. fish are long gone. Congress members are wary of political contributions and wary of speaking too fulsomely of helpfully regulating an industry that has often lost voters money. There are few votes in championing Web3 anymore.
So has the Blockchain Association failed? You could argue that. In the last five years, Congress has not passed any comprehensive crypto legislation and it doesn’t seem likely to any time soon. We’ve seen plenty of thoughtful bills proposed, including the second iteration of one from U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis and Kirsten Gillibrand, and a Republican-supported stablecoin bill has received strong backing from key members of the House Financial Services Committee. But, with Gary Gensler’s launching a series of noisy enforcement salvos against companies like Coinbase, Kraken and Binance (and Binance’s U.S. subsidiary), many continue to complain about a lack of regulatory clarity.
And, indeed, some have had enough of the U.S. entirely, choosing bases of operations in jurisdictions with more favorable and transparent regimes.
I spoke to Kristin…