CNN Members of the cryptocurrency world donate to cryptocurrency-centric organizations, hire lobbyists, and step up advocacy to get lawmakers involved in the industry as pressure builds on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to address cryptocurrency deployment of bipartisan infrastructure ahead of a vote in the bill House.
“The crypto world has become politically aware,” said Anne Fauvre-Willis, chief operating officer at Oasis Labs, a blockchain data protection company. “For many there has been a personal political awakening.”
The push follows a back and forth debate between senators and dueling proposed amendments earlier this month that would have changed the language that would be included in the non-partisan infrastructure package to regulate cryptocurrency – which uses blockchain technology for online transactions.
Despite the debate, a compromise change on the language of cryptocurrency failed ahead of the final passage of the law in the Chamber on Tuesday, making crypto advocates concerned about the fate of an industry they are personally invested in and dear to their hearts .
As it stands, the provision would impose more federal regulation on cryptocurrencies and could dramatically increase the number of cryptocurrency users who would have to report filings to the Internal Revenue Service – something that gets on a nerve with supporters of an industry designed to do this to hit a nerve has brokers and grant their users autonomy via a decentralized system.
While a small number of proponents of cryptocurrency think tanks and associations in DC have been making noise for years, leaders in the crypto space told CNN that the recent debate on cryptocurrency regulations on Capitol Hill has caught the attention of thousands of people who are previously from politics.
“There are a number of new people watching what is happening in Washington,” said Ryan Selkis, founder of Messari, a cryptocurrency research and analysis company.
Like Fauvre-Willis, Selkis told CNN that the talk about cryptocurrency in DC sparked an “awakening” for many people.
The birth of the “crypto voter”
Since the beginning of August, the phrase “I’m now a single issue voter” has gone viral in crypto circles on Twitter, flooding the feeds of both high-profile crypto leaders and ordinary traders who have garnered thousands of likes and hundreds of retweets to share they only choose candidates who support the booming industry.
Selkis’ own Twitter bio reads: “Single Issue Voters: Anti-Crypto Politicians Should Be Scared.”
But according to information from members of the crypto community, although the protection of the booming industry is a priority, “crypto voters” do not yet belong to one party or the other.
For her part, Evan Greer, who has organized large-scale online protests in support of net neutrality and against Internet censorship and state surveillance over the past decade, said that in her experience, “technical problems often lie outside the historic Democrats vs. Republican partisan divisions.”
“These are fundamental questions about how people orientate themselves to institutions of power, be it corporate power or government power,” Greer – director of Fight for the Future, a not-for-profit organization for digital rights – told CNN.
“Skepticism about arbitrary forms of power, be it government or corporate, is growing, especially among young people, and we are seeing this affect the crypto community,” Greer said. “The traditional left-right party politics that have dominated US policy for young people is really starting to erode.”
The pressure to protect the crypto industry goes beyond social media
Earlier this month, 25 new companies announced their interest in joining the Blockchain Association – a trade association of 46 existing member companies that is working to educate lawmakers on cryptocurrency and improve public policies.
“This is a defining moment for the crypto ecosystem because it was the first time that so many people reached the Senate in a unified manner [and lawmakers] and let them know that this is a super dynamic, super creative group, “said Kristin Smith, executive director of the Blockchain Association.
In the past few months, the Blockchain Association has stepped up its lobbying work, Smith, who has been with the association for three years, told CNN. The group has an internal Republican lobbyist, an internal Democratic lobbyist, and three lobbyists.
Smith, who is also a registered lobbyist, told CNN that member firms are now also hiring lobbyists or lobbying firms.
When asked why those unfamiliar with the crypto space might be interested in the recent advocacy of cryptocurrency, Smith said it was based on believing in the benefit of autonomy over one’s financial transactions.
“Even if you don’t understand the technology [behind crypto]The ability to use your money and data the way you want and live a digital life where you are not at the mercy of the intermediaries should appeal to a lot of people, “she said.
Coin Center, a think tank focused on cryptocurrency policy founded in 2014, has seen a “surge” in donations from both individuals and corporations, Neeraj Agrawal, the organization’s communications director, told CNN.
Since August 1, the organization has received gifts from more than 350 individual donors, he said.
And Fight for the Future – which drew more than 40,000 people to its online portal earlier this month to call senators and urge lawmakers to cut proposed cryptocurrency regulations – has since received more than $ 20,000 in donations to their organization , mainly given in cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency creators and users “have now realized the fact that the government can kick your door in and shut down your cool project,” Greer said.
“Any legislator that wants support from young voters must show that they are not completely ignorant of these issues,” Greer said.
Fight for the Future will use the donations to support the push to protect crypto in the infrastructure bill moving toward the House of Representatives, Greer said.
The organization will launch a “judicial press” operation, Greer said, to request meetings with lawmakers, send more phone calls and emails to lawmakers, and create instructional videos and statements.
“It all costs money,” she says.
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