A pro-crypto group is ramping up its advertising campaigns ahead of a key regulator’s scheduled appearance before a legislative committee next week.
On September 27, as part of the group’s Stand With Crypto Day, dozens of founders of cryptocurrency companies, including Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, will visit Capitol Hill.
According to reports, even though the House Financial Services Committee has not formally announced the hearing, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Gary Gensler is anticipated to speak before the committee that day.
The largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, Coinbase, assisted in the establishment of the independent nonprofit organization Stand With Crypto in August with the goal of organizing the cryptocurrency community in favor of pro-crypto policy.
According to Coinbase, since the organization’s founding, it has gained tens of thousands of supporters.
The group’s latest effort aims to influence politicians on Capitol Hill by mobilizing supporters of cryptocurrency across the country. Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin are the nine “swing states” that are the focus of the campaign.
The FIT21 Act, a comprehensive regulatory measure backed by various proponents of the cryptocurrency business, including Coinbase, is the focus of the campaign, which is mostly digital in nature and asks constituents to phone their representatives and ask for their support.
Kara Calvert, head of U.S. policy at Coinbase, told The Hill in a phone interview that America’s 52 million-strong crypto constituency is active and wants both clarity and safeguards as consumers and job creators.
Every day, they’re creating opportunities and innovations with the backing of Coinbase, and we want to make sure their voices are heard clearly.
The House Financial Services Committee was contacted by the SEC in response to a question from The Hill regarding the hearing. The Hill’s request for response from committee representatives was not immediately answered.
Republicans questioned Gensler about his “regulation by enforcement” approach to digital assets during the oversight hearing held by the committee in April.
At a Senate Banking Committee oversight hearing last week, Gensler expressed his deep skepticism of the cryptocurrency sector by saying, he has never seen a field that’s so rife with misconduct.”
In June, the SEC filed a lawsuit against Coinbase for allegedly selling unregistered securities. In a brief from August, Coinbase claimed that the regulator had overstepped its bounds and that the disputed digital assets did not qualify as securities.
According to Calvert, Coinbase is endorsing Stand With Crypto because Americans desire crypto clarity just as much as a business like Coinbase does.
According to federal lobbying records examined by the money in politics research organization OpenSecrets, Coinbase alone increased its federal lobbying budget by more than doubling it from $1.5 million in 2021 to $3.4 million in 2022, spending more than any other company in the industry did the previous year. During 2023’s first half, it spent $1.4 million on lobbying.
In the absence of legislative action, several crypto proponents told The Hill that legal disputes are impacting regulation, but that there is still a great deal of opportunity for uncertainty.
According to Calvert, a possible House floor vote on the FIT21 Act, which the House Financial Services Committee approved in July, would represent a vote in favor of or against cryptocurrency.
According to Calvert, either you support legislation that clarifies the regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies or you do not.