BlockFi hires lobbyists to streamline talks with policymakers

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Renowned crypto lending platform BlockFi has hired lobbyists from Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP to work on regulatory and tax policy for financial service providers in digital assets, Reuters reported.

BlockFi has created a five-person policy team with Arnold & Porter. The team features Arnold & Porter Partner Mark Epley and Kevin Oโ€™Neill, the Legislative and Public Policy Practice Group Chair at the law and lobbying firm.

By acquiring the services of Arnold & Porter, BlockFi has become the latest crypto firm to hire lobbyists.

According to Epley, Arnold & Porter would help serve as BlockFiโ€™s alter ego, helping the company discuss industry interests with lawmakers.

He pointed out that policymakers are not interested in hearing from individual players in the market, but lobbyists can help in such talks. Epley disclosed that although Arnold & Porter has other clients interested in crypto, it is currently not lobbying for any other company.

Increasing efforts to get on the same page with lawmakers

A BlockFi spokesperson said:

BlockFi believes that key to the success of the industry is appropriate regulation.

The spokesperson added that the company is eager to work with policymakers to help define the regulatory and tax environment for digital assets.

This news comes after BlockFi agreed to pay $100 million to the U.S Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and 32 states after failing to register its lending product. This fine set the record as the highest penalty a crypto firm has ever paid. The SEC took $50 million of the $100 million.

Apart from BlockFi, multiple crypto companies are involved in lobbying. These include Coinbase, Ripple Labs, Blockchain Association, Stellar Development, Chamber of Digital Commerce, Coincenter, and Coinflip, to mention a few.

In 2021, crypto companies spent a whopping $9 million in lobbying activities. Coinbase, Ripple Labs, and Blockchain Association were the top donors, with Coinbase spending $1.5 million. Ripple Labs came next, spending $1.1 million. On the other hand, Blockchain Associated parted with $900,000.

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