Ripple heads new crypto lobby group in Washington DC
The pushback on cryptocurrency and blockchain legislation has begun as a group of tech companies has engaged the services of professional lobbyists to prompt US lawmakers to pass crypto-friendly laws.
Ripple is among the best-known companies in the new group, that is calling itself the Securing America’s Internet of Value Coalition, and it is retaining the Klein/Johnson Group to represent it in Washington DC.
Existing national financial regulators the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) have lacked transparency regarding their oversight of the cryptocurrency sector.
Under existing SEC and CFTC regulations, confusion remains over whether crypto tokens constitute securities or commodities, and whether initial coin offerings are always a security.
However, the US government is becoming increasing involved in the sector, and Tom Emmer, newly-appointed co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus (CBC) this week called for a “light touch” regulatory framework for the sector.
Ripple chairman Chris Larsen said: “We understand this is really complicated, and there is a lot of misinformation out there. The good news is there is a lot of interest in this topic in DC.”
The lobby group is seeking oversight of the sector that will encourage innovation and competition in the emerging blockchain and cryptocurrency sector.
Yet it remains to be seen whether any new cryptocurrency rules will emerge, and if they would be overseen by a new bespoke regulator, or whether the sector will remain under the regulatory oversight of the existing bodies.
For his part, the CBC’s Emmer – a Minnesota Congressman – has promised clarity on the control of digital assets.
He said at the weekend on his appointment as co-chair: “Legislators should be embracing emerging technologies and providing a clear regulatory system that allows them to flourish in the US.”
To this end, the bi-partisan Caucus says it believes in a “hands-off regulatory approach” to allow crypto and blockchain technology to evolve as the internet did.
To help ensure their commitment, the Klein/Johnson Group lobbyists will be partially paid in cryptocurrencies. This gives them “some skin in the game” said Larsen at Ripple, benefiting them to best represent the interests of crypto firms.