You know crypto has gone mainstream when companies are spending millions to lobby for it (or against it) in D.C.
At the end of April, the U.S. Congress released its latest quarterly data on lobbying on Capitol Hill. The report showed that the number of companies lobbying for crypto and blockchain had increased again, with big names like Accenture and Ernst & Young leading the spend.
From the end of 2017 to Q1 2019, the number of entities lobbying on blockchain-related issues nearly tripled, from 12 to 33. In the first quarter of 2019, that number increased to 80, with roughly half of those entities lobbying specifically for crypto-related causes.
More Lobbyists, More Money
In Q1 2018, entities that lobbied on crypto-related issues spent only $2.5 million. In Q1 2019, that number jumped to $42 million.
Top spenders in 2019 according to CoinTelegraph:
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce: $16.5 million on draft legislation on cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and FinTech.
- IBM: $2million on the Blockchain promotion Act
- E.Y.: $990,000 on Fintech and crypto-asset related issues
- Fidelity: $640,000 on digital assets
What’s Driving the Growth?
Crypto’s popularity has grown significantly over the past decade, with as many as 84% of companies worldwide involved in some way with blockchain technology. Despite this, clear guidance from regulators has yet to come.
“What’s driven a lot of the growth in lobbying recently has been securities regulation,” Jerry Brito, executive director of the Coin Center, a nonprofit that has lobbied on cryptocurrencies since 2014, told Politico.
The amount of money being spent in Washington is likely the signs of a maturing market, but with all new technologies, convincing legacy industries can be a tough and expensive battle.
“I think that when you have a new technology and new platforms in older and heavily regulated spaces, you need as many legitimate voices and boots on the ground that you can get,” said Izzy Klein to Politico, who lobbies for the Securing America’s Internet of Value Coalition, which was launched in September by Ripple and other startups.
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