New Bitcoin Lobbying, Trade Association Announced
By PAUL VIGNA
The release this past week of the so-called “bitlicense” proposal from the New York State Department of Financial Services underscores that regulators are taking bitcoin and cryptocurrencies seriously. Now a group of bitcoin backers announced they’ve formed a trade association to represent the industry’s interests in Washington, D.C.
The Chamber of Digital Commerce announced itself on Saturday at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Chicago. The group is registered as a 501(c)(6) nonprofit, which allows it to act as a lobbyist, and is being led by Perianne Boring, a former journalist and Congressional staffer. It has early backing from RRE Ventures and Tally Capital, which are leading a seed-round of fund raising.
The group’s goal is to “legitimize” the digital currency in the eyes of D.C. policy-makers, and to provide a place where they can get “non-biased” information.
Ms. Boring said the new group is not in competition with the Bitcoin Foundation, which is also classified as a 501(c)(6) nonprofit. In fact, she said she initially proposed the idea to the foundation, and while they rejected it, they also encouraged her to pursue it on her own. The Bitcoin Foundation is not specifically a lobbying firm, although it did hire an outside firm, Thorsen French Advocacy, earlier this month.
Still, the Bitcoin Foundation has come under fire within the community recently over the election of new board members Bobby Lee and Brock Pierce. That led a number of members to publicly resign. More recently, Andreas Antonopoulos, a well-known figure in the Bitcoin community, resigned from the Foundation, over what he described as a “lack of transparency.”