By Chris Matthews
“Crypto is in every community across the country,” said Kara Calvert of Coinbase.
Crypto entrepreneurs from across the country are arriving in Washington, D.C. this week, joining Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong to lobby lawmakers for legislation they say could bring much-needed regulatory certainty to the industry .
The group hopes to convince lawmakers to pass bipartisan legislation passed this summer by the Republican-led House Financial Services Committee and Agriculture Committee that would create a new regulatory framework for digital assets that would open up less cumbersome paths for upcoming crypto companies. compliance.
“Crypto is in every community across the country,” Kara Calvert, head of U.S. policy at Coinbase, told MarketWatch. “This is an industry that creates jobs, that impacts real people and real families, and that’s what we want to get across.”
Coinbase (COIN) helped organize Stand with Crypto Day on Wednesday, September 27, to raise awareness of what it says is the diverse group of Americans who hold crypto and the economic benefits of the new technology.
The event will coincide with an oversight hearing at the House Financial Services Committee, during which Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler will answer questions from lawmakers about his aggressive oversight of an industry that , according to him, is full of “peddlers, fraudsters, con artists and Ponzi schemes.”
Marlon Williams, founder of the Atlanta Blockchain Center, a crypto-focused business incubator, is one of the entrepreneurs coming to Washington to meet and lobby lawmakers, and he says he’s going to fight these perceptions.
“It’s so disheartening to see institutions in this country proclaiming that crypto is a scam,” he said in an interview. “I live this thing every day and I don’t encounter the scammers these people talk about.”
Nina Blankenship and Lisa Francoeur are the founders of Crypto Tutors LLC, a company that offers crypto and blockchain training programs to companies that want to train their employees on the technology or integrate it into their products.
They told MarketWatch in an interview that they are traveling to Washington hoping to teach lawmakers that the crypto economy employs more than just software engineers and financial services workers.
Crypto Tutors also hosts the annual Web3 Diversity Conference aimed at spotlighting crypto entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds — an important topic for Blankenship and Francoeur as women of color in an industry often considered male-dominated.
“Coming from a minority group, we know that access to financial services is more difficult for the black community,” Francoeur said. “When we think about democratizing access to wealth and wealth creation, crypto presents an exciting opportunity for the disenfranchised.”
A recent Pew Research Center survey showed that 24% of Asian adults and 21% of Black or Hispanic adults say they have ever invested in or used cryptocurrency, compared to 14% of white adults.
But experts say the volatility of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin (BTCUSD) and ether (ETHUSD) – and the fact that they don’t produce any income in the form of interest payments or dividends like stocks do or bonds – means they are not a reliable route. to creating wealth within themselves.
Congress is also considering legislation to regulate stablecoins, or cryptocurrencies that aim to track the value of government-issued money like the U.S. dollar, with the House Financial Service Committee introducing a bill in July that would establish minimum standards for capital and liquidity. and risk management for stablecoin issuers.
Circle, the issuer of the stablecoin USDC (USDCUSD), held a press conference Tuesday morning to plead for the Democratic Senate and the Biden White House to support the effort, arguing that the bill would address many of the problems highlighted by the Biden administration in its 2021 stablecoin report.
“I think the narrow, bipartisan bill that came out of the House is the architecture that everyone will have to adopt moving forward,” Dante Disparte, chief strategy officer and head of global politics at Circle. He acknowledged that reaching broad bipartisan compromise might be difficult in the current environment.
“There is a window,” he said, “but the question is that in a world where impeachment is back on the agenda and a government shutdown looms, the question is whether people will be able to overcome the partisan environment and do something sensible about digital assets?”
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
09/26/23 10:59 a.m. ET
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