There is a new kid on the block(chain) – pun intended. “The Blockchain Association” is a cryptocurrency lobby consortium, founded September 11th, 2018. A lobby group, or advocacy group, is an organization, usually consisting of several different parties with similar interests/goals/beliefs who band together to campaign/advocate and support their organization’s common agenda.
The form of the advocacy ranges from organizing social support to raising funds to help a project, fund a campaign or quite literally… pay for political support.
The self-titled Blockchain Association consists of big cryptocurrency companies such as Coinbase, Circle, Digital Currency Group, Polychain Capital, and Protocol Labs. I have not read of Ripple (or R3) being involved in the Blockchain Association, however, they may join the Association later.
Given that this lobby group has spawned deep in the cryptocurrency bear market is a very positive sign in my opinion. Despite the low Bitcoin and altcoin prices, organized support of this kind demonstrates that market and political interest is not transient. The Blockchain Association will likely be working on many long-term prospects for the developing industry. When large, influential companies of the nascent cryptocurrency industry band together with common goals it gives the industry more solidarity, clout, credibility and focused aims. It becomes more difficult for the government to keep pushing back and delaying regulatory clarity because the group can petition the government with more weight. Additionally, it illustrates that the once considered rogue crypto community is instead amicably working alongside regulators to protect consumers and develop the market.
The group aims to provide insight, feedback and support in an organized fashion to the lawmakers and regulators of the USA. Some of their first priorities are: crypto and tax law; anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) as well as to maintain enough ‘wiggle-room’ around regulation for the crypto industry to grow unencumbered so as not to stifle growth and competition.
It is my hope that the Blockchain Association is able to lobby the US government into passing the Token Taxonomy Act (bill) as quickly as reasonable, ideally in 2019 by Q3 or Q4.
Interestingly, this is not the first crypto lobby group. Many other nations have their own Blockchain/cryptocurrency associations/lobby groups who function to lobby and/or educate government politicians, regulators and businesses alike on the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry. Some blockchain groups include:
- The Blockchain Association of Canada (formerly the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada), founded 2013
- Blockchain for Europe
- Nordic Blockchain Association
- Swiss Blockchain Association
- Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA)
- Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Committee (BACC) of India
- British Blockchain Association
- Blockchain New Zealand (BNZ)
- Blockchain Association of Ireland (BAI)
- Africa Blockchain Association (ABA), since 2017
- Malaysia Blockchain Association
- Caribbean Blockchain Association
- Philippine Blockchain Association
… And the list would go on, as there are many more. I am not able to go into detail on all of the above, however, I will include brief details on a few of them.
The Blockchain Association of Canada (BAC), founded in 2013 and formerly known as the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada, is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association (aka a lobby group) that advocates bilaterally to the government, and to the emerging crypto industry in Canada. The BAC acts as a liaison between the government, regulators and crypto startups in an attempt to ease compliance with regulations, support transparent operations of crypto companies to the government to help build trust, as well as advocating for industry-friendly regulation to allow for growth and innovation in the cryptocurrency space. Further, the BAC is developing education, training and certification courses for the community and stakeholders to help improve awareness and quality information on the crypto industry in Canada to build a strong crypto-ecosystem.
“Blockchain for Europe” is the title of the European cryptocurrency lobby group. It is organized between Ripple, NEM, Fetch.AI, and EMURGO/Cardano. The group aims to educate and work alongside European politicians to help them understand the cryptocurrency technology so as to make informed decisions on laws and regulations to allow the industry to flourish without stifling innovation.
Additionally, the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ADCA) is a self-regulating non-profit organization that instituted itself in an attempt to self-regulate and add legitimacy and trust to the nascent, volatile crypto industry. Despite their best efforts, Australian regulators and lawmakers are still keeping a very close watch over the crypto industry and are weighing in and creating laws/regulations. I think that the ADCA is well positioned to step into a lobbying role providing it receives some more funding from the Australian (and/or worldwide) crypto industry.
Moreover, in India there exists a committee known as the “Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Committee (BACC) of India”. They appear to be a subset of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The head of the BACC (Ajeet Khurana) stated that the committee promotes blockchain technology, digital assets, and cryptocurrency with advocacy, outreach and outlining best practices, standards and customer education. Their main priority and goal are to spread reliable information and support to guide the development of the crypto industry in India to experience robust and healthy growth.
The Blockchain Association of Canada, Blockchain Association (USA), Blockchain for Europe, the Australian Digital Commerce Association and the Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Committee of India share similar goals in their lobbying efforts of the Canadian, US, EU, Australian and Indian governments (law-makers and regulators) and guiding industry respectively. There are many more lobby groups in various countries around the world (some of which are listed above) all striving toward the common goal of improving regulation and laws in support of the crypto industry to provide a fertile, robust and innovative environment for the nascent projects.
The worldwide support and growing interest of the crypto industry make it clear to me that there is plenty of international support for this groundbreaking decade old technology. I believe that we are at a possible inflexion point of something truly amazing in the financial and technological world. If you thought the internet and smartphones were a massive leap forward, just wait until Cryptocurrency is half as established as the Internet… We’re in for quite an interesting future!
Let us know what you think about these lobby groups in the comments below! And please add any information about lobby groups or associations that you think is relevant!