Coinbase takes lobbying effort to DC airwaves with new TV ad

Quick Take

  • Coinbase is taking its public outreach about crypto to the airwaves in the nation’s capital, running a new TV ad in Washington, D.C. 
  • “Regardless of what you think about it, it’s not going anywhere,” co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong says in the video. 

Coinbase, the crypto exchange in a long-running dispute with U.S. regulators, is taking its public outreach to airwaves in the nation's capital, running a new TV this week to confront what it says is a "naive view" of digital assets

"Lots of policy work to do to ensure America isn’t left behind," co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong wrote Monday on Twitter.

In the nearly 2-minute black and white "extended cut" version posted to YouTube, Armstrong says the view that crypto is merely a speculative asset is "missing the forest through the trees." While he acknowledges the industry is still in its early days, he compared the current crypto era to what happened when people first started to use the Internet.

"Fundamentally, crypto is not a financial product," Armstrong said. "It's a technology that can update all kinds of financial products. It can improve settlement times. It can make it cheaper to send money to your family overseas in another country."

"Regardless of what you think about it, it's not going anywhere," he said.   "It can't be un-invented."

A lengthy flight with U.S. regulators

Coinbase has been embroiled in a lengthy fight with the Securities and Exchange Commission and has been pushing for new rules for the industry. SEC chairman Gary Gensler has accused crypto markets of being “generally non-compliant” and doesn't believe new rules are needed.

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The crypto exchange has been active both inside the courtroom and out, earlier this month creating a Global Advisory Council that includes former U.S. Senator Patrick Toomey, in addition to former U.S. Congressmen Tim Ryan and ​​Sean Patrick Maloney. The company has warned that an unfavorable regulatory climate in the U.S. could push development overseas.

In the new ad, Armstrong said he worried that the U.S. could face a national security issue like it saw after many advancements in 5G technology and semiconductors had been offshored. 

"If you want to help the average person in America, we need to make sure we have economic growth," he said. "Everything that underpins that comes from science and technology."

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Nathan Crooks is the U.S managing editor at The Block, based in Miami. He was previously at Bloomberg News for 12 years, where he helmed coverage of South Florida after roles as a breaking news editor and bureau chief in Caracas, Venezuela. He's interviewed presidents, government ministers and CEOs, and, besides crypto, has covered major news events on the ground from earthquakes to hurricanes to the Chilean mine rescue in 2018. Nathan, a native of Clarion, Pennsylvania, holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, where he completed a specialist in political science, and an MBA from American University in Washington, D.C.


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