Op Ed: Lobbying Efforts Promote the Blockchain Industry Around the World

Well-known crypto companies such as Coinbase, eToro, CryptoCompare, CEX.IO, BlockEx, CoinShares and CommerceBlock have recently announced the creation of CryptoUK. As stated on their official website, CryptoUK is a self-regulatory trade association established to promote higher standards of conduct. But why should these obvious competitors and big players unite? And is this becoming a trend?

Of course, their primary goal is perfectly clear: CryptoUK wants to lobby the U.K. government on behalf of their interests and to influence the market.

The aggregated volume of the exchanges is quite large for the cryptocurrency industry. The daily volume for CEX.IO alone is more than $34 million. However,  this is a small amount when compared to the market leaders.  Binance’s daily volume is around $2 billion, for example. CryptoUK unites not only crypto-exchanges but also such services as Coin Shares (a hedge fund and exchange), CryptoCompare (a community hub) and several others. By having a united policy, all of the above-mentioned companies can truly influence the different spheres of the crypto community.

As British Treasury official Stephen Barclay recently said, “The U.K. government is currently negotiating amendments to the anti-money laundering directive.” It will be adopted as early as the beginning of 2018, and it will certainly affect the sphere of cryptocurrency. Therefore, a large association representing several companies has a real chance of being heard by the regulatory authorities.

It seems that crypto associations are becoming a trend, and a source at Blackmoon — a platform uniting the traditional investment funds and digital currency — said that a similar association is being prepared with several market leaders mostly from the U.S.

So what kinds of cryptocurrency and blockchain associations exist, and what goals do they pursue?

Government Support Plays a Role

Crypto Valley Association

The Crypto Valley Association was established in 2017 with the government support of the canton of Zug in Switzerland. Their stated goal is to build the world’s leading blockchain ecosystem. At the moment, the association is engaged in garnering startup support (including contacts with investors and fundraising), conducting research in the blockchain, and holding events.

Some members of the association are Bitcoin Suisse, Bussmann Advisory, iprotus, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Luxoft, Monetas and Thomson Reuters.
KPMG is one of the associations partners. Crypto Valley is currently making their first report on an ICO together with the major global auditor, PwC.

Russian Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (RACIB)

This association was also established in 2017 with the support of the Russian government. Among the activities of the association are “the preparation of proposals for legislative acts for the Government of the Russian Federation.”

The creation of the association was initiated by the Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation on internet issues, Herman Klimenko. He is not listed on the official website of the RACIB in the “Board members” section, however, he is the head of the RACIB supervisory board. That board also includes the CTO of one of the biggest Russian IT companies Mail Ru Group, the CEO of Waves platform and other well-known people from the industry.

The association actively conducts blockchain initiatives and events, and they also try to influence the decisions of the government. For example, recently, the president of the RACIB Yuri Pripachkin offered to provide free power from the state-run power plants for cryptocurrency mining.

Blockchain Research Institute

The main goal of this Canadian organization is to further research into the impact of blockchain technology on business, government and society. The study is financed by the institute members, including global leaders at IBM, Microsoft, Deloitte and others. BRI is helping member organizations to realize the benefits of implementing blockchain technologies. The institute was founded in 2017 by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott, authors of the bestselling book, Blockchain Revolution. This organization has some governmental support from the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the City of Toronto, the University Health Network in Toronto, the Bank of Canada and the Federal Institute on Governance.

Associations Created for Lobbying and Education

Chamber of Digital Commerce

Created in 2014, the focus of the Chamber is to lobby for the use of digital assets and blockchain technology and to affect policy makers and regulators. The Chamber of Digital Commerce is successfully expressing the interest of the crypto community through the media and through public appearances of its members in many high-profile situations. For instance, recently Perianne Boring and Amy Davine Kim from the CDC board presented to U.S. legislators about the electronic signature act, proposing the usage of smart contracts instead.

Among other Chamber of Digital Commerce initiatives are the creation of the Token and Blockchain Alliance, the Digital Assets Accounting Consortium and many others. CDC host events on a regular basis, from small meetups to large conferences, like the DC Blockchain Summit. Boring has become an influencer in the industry, speaking at top conferences around the world and recognized as being among the “10 Most Influential People in Blockchain 2016.”

The U.S. Congress is beginning to take note of what the Chamber of Digital Commerce has to say and has taken steps to address some of its proposals (e.g. monitoring of extremists groups).

Coin Center

Another other association making its mark in DC is Coin Center. The goals of the organization are to educate policymakers about cryptocurrencies, to be engaged in regulators’ research on the topic and to advocate the blockchain solutions.

Coin Center produces research reports on topics that are important to the industry, including “The Need for a Federal Alternative to State Money Transmission Licensing.” Recently CEO Jerry Brito participated in CFTC’s Technology Advisory Committee Public Meeting, representing Coin Center’s position regarding virtual currencies, market regulations and development of the blockchain technology.

ACCESS, Singapore

This association was established in 2014 and aims to make a dialogue between the crypto community, large businesses, and regulators. Thus, ACCESS is the voice of Singapore’s blockchain projects. In addition, the association regularly conducts seminars and workshops on the theme of the blockchain and cryptocurrency. The co-founders of such projects like CoinPip and JEDTrade are all on the board. The association also makes proposals to MAS Singapore’s central bank.

Bitcoin Association Switzerland

The first thing that catches your eye when you go to the official website of this association is Dostoevsky’s quote on the main page: “Money is a coined freedom.” In addition to the obvious love of Russian literature, the members of the association are united in carrying out joint events and trying to solve the problems of regulating cryptocurrencies. It is also a single entry point for the media: sharing of public relation resources, by the way, is another reason for the creation of such associations.

Members of the association include such giants as E&Y and Bosh, as well as blockchain projects like Crypto Finance. BAS regularly holds question-and-answer sessions with its members, stoking interest within the community.

This is a guest post by Maria Lobanova. Opinions expressed are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoin Magazine.

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