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Crypto Lobbying Has Quadrupled Over the Past Four Years, Says Report

2 mins
Updated by Ryan Boltman
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In Brief

  • Spending on lobbying for cryptocurrencies in Washington, D.C. more than quadrupled over the past four years, according to a recent study.
  • During that time since 2018, the number of crypto-issue lobbyists more than doubled from 115 to 320, according to a Public Citizen analysis of federal disclosures.
  • The report summarized that the industry spent over $9 million last year in its efforts to influence members of Congress.
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Spending on lobbying for cryptocurrencies in Washington, D.C. has more than quadrupled over the past four years, according to a recent study.

During that time since 2018, the number of crypto-issue lobbyists more than doubled from 115 to 320, according to a Public Citizen analysis of federal disclosures. The report summarized that the industry spent over $9 million last year in its efforts to influence members of Congress. 

While a mere fraction of the amount spent by big tech each year, it still demonstrates an astounding acceleration for the industry, Public Citizen’s Rick Claypool said in the report. He called it a “characteristic response of an expanding industry drawing regulatory and legislative scrutiny,” and predicted that “the cryptocurrency lobbying spree is only just beginning.”

The biggest spenders were made up of those with direct investments in cryptocurrencies. Coinbase Global Inc, Ripple Labs Inc., and the Blockchain Association alone represented over a third of lobbying by crypto companies last year. Just last month, Coinbase formed the Coinbase Innovation PAC to hone in on its lobbying interests.

However, crypto-related firms were not the only ones with a business interest in digital asset policy. Corporations that disclosed lobbying on crypto-related topics last year include International Business Machines Corp., Fidelity Investments, and Meta Platforms Inc. 

Meanwhile, more traditional financial and business trade associations also listed lobbyists working on issues related to digital assets. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the country’s largest business lobby, listed 32 lobbyists, while the National Venture Capital Association listed 24, according to the report.

Revolving door

As similarly occurs in other lobbying industries, the report also acknowledged the growing concern of a ‘revolving door’ between regulators and lobbyists. The report highlighted multiple high profile instances, such as former Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln, now lobbying for the Blockchain Association. 

Among the Board of Advisors of the Chamber of Digital Commerce are former Securities and Exchange Commissioner Paul Atkins, former Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, and former chairman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission Christopher Giancarlo.

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Nicholas Pongratz
Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage.
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