Crypto lobbying is becoming 'incredibly powerful,' according to Blockchain Association's Kristin Smith

Episode 37 of Season 4 of The Scoop was recorded with The Block’s Frank Chaparro and Kristin Smith, Executive Director at The Blockchain Association

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The Blockchain Association — a trade association that lobbies US politicians on behalf of the crypto industry — saw explosive growth in 2021, thanks in part to the controversy surrounding the crypto tax reporting provisions that were included as part of a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that went through Congress last year.

In this episode of The Scoop, Kristin Smith, Executive Director of the Blockchain Association, appears on the show for a record-breaking fifth appearance (pulling ahead of FTX’s Sam Bankman-Fried by one) to explain the crypto-friendly momentum that she sees building among American politicians.

According to Smith, there are three main reasons why the crypto lobbying industry is gaining influence in Washington:

“Between the professionals on the ground, the political giving, and the people back at home that care about this space, the crypto industry is in a much, much better position than we've ever been to date.”

Although total US crypto trade association lobbying decreased from $1,034,663 in Q4 of last year to $917,406 in Q1 of 2022, the Blockchain Association increased their Q1 lobbying efforts from $540,000 to $590,000 — over 60% of the industry total for the quarter.

Relative to the total crypto market cap — which peaked at just over $3 trillion last November — the amount of money being directed towards crypto lobbying may seem low. But according to Smith, “the amount of money it takes to influence Washington is laughably small.”

In the US, direct donations to candidates are limited to $2,900 per election, or $5,800 per cycle. 

Although they are limited in size, direct donations carry weight with politicians because the funds go directly to the campaign, says Smith:

“When the crypto industry comes together and you get ten people or twenty people that will write $5,800 checks, all of a sudden you're doing a $100,000, maybe close to $200,000 fundraiser for a member of Congress — and that's money that they get to decide how to use as opposed to a super PAC where the super PAC independently is deciding how to use it — that's actually incredibly powerful.”

During this episode Chaparro and Smith also discuss:

  • Bipartisan support for crypto
  • Politicians’ interest in NFTs
  • How to support crypto-friendly regulation

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