Cryptocurrency industry opens lobbying firm to sell DC on blockchain

The firm wants to guide lawmakers as they navigate issues related to cybersecurity, consumer protection and regulation.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
2 min read
A visual representation of the digital Cryptocurrency

The cryptocurrency industry has set up a lobbying firm in the US capital.

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The cryptocurrency industry is getting political.

The Blockchain Association was launched Tuesday in Washington, DC, and will serve as the "unified voice of the blockchain ecosystem." It's essentially a lobbying firm for digital currencies and other  blockchain -based technologies.

"Innovation moves faster than policy, and we've seen many blockchain-based frameworks with great potential that don't fit neatly within existing statutory and regulatory frameworks," the firm said in a blog post. "The unique characteristics of the token economy require an evolved environment that supports our members."

Cryptocurrency , such as bitcoin and Ethereum, has grown into a billion-dollar industry worldwide, according to Coin Market Cap. Blockchain is the fundamental technology that powers these digital currencies. Cryptocurrencies aren't widely used for buying consumer goods, but they do function as investment vehicles and storehouses for wealth.

The Blockchain Association said it wants help lawmakers and officials navigate issues surrounding blockchain, including cybersecurity, consumer protection and regulation.

The federal government has already been dealing with issues related to cryptocurrency.

In December, the US Securities and Exchange Commission filed a lawsuit that accuses PlexCorps of running a "full-fledged cyber scam" through which the company allegedly used $15 million from investors for personal expenses, including home decor. PlexCorps denies the charges. In June, a hacker stole $31.6 million worth of cryptocurrency from South Korea's Bithumb. Authorities have also warned of scammers using celebrity images and posh addresses to convince consumers to invest in cryptocurrency.

The founding members of the Blockchain Association include Coinbase, Protocol Labs, Circle, Digital Currency Group and Polychain Capital. The firm is still hiring staff and will develop a membership system for the rest of the industry in the next few months. Companies that want to join will pay a fee based on their stage of development.

Coinbase, Circle, Digital Currency Group and Polychain Capital didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. 

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