Crypto Issues Playing a Key Role in the US’ FinTech Lobby

Companies like Coinbase and MasterCard pushed for proper crypto laws.

Around 40 companies in the United States have tried to influence policymaking efforts in the country by lobbying for Bitcoin and blockchain-related causes in the first quarter of 2019, revealed political new portal Roll Call.

The entities were a part of a larger fintech lobbying group of 80 companies which spent $42 million in Q1 2019 to influence policymaking. The companies include prominent names in the industry like Coinbase, Square, MasterCard, and Ripple.

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Although the biggest contributor was the US Chamber of Commerce with $16.4 million in spending, its focus remained in the fintech in general. MasterCard spent a total of $720,000 for pushing its causes, which included digital currency-related issues as well.

The United States’ largest exchange and wallet platform Coinbase shelled out $50,000 to influence policies in areas like the Banking Secrecy Act. However, Coin Center, a cryptocurrency advocacy group, remained the largest direct crypto-related spender by spending $140,000 in both in-house lobbying and outside lobbying.

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Major issues should be sorted out

The report outlined that the major concerns of the crypto-related companies lied in shaping the tax laws for the new industry along with the need for clear regulatory guidelines.

Tax laws related to crypto assets are murky in the US, and the process of filing income from crypto-related activities is a complex one.

Though the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) issued guidance for crypto tax laws, many issues remained unanswered. For instance, it is not clear how to handle tax documents when a blockchain forks resulting in the creating of two parallel digital currencies. “The IRS has given no guidance how they’d treat that, so people are guessing,” Jerry Brito, executive director at Coin Center, told the publication.

The lobby groups are also trying to bring clear laws for the involvement of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in initial coin offerings (ICOs). Last year, two lawmakers moved a bipartisan bill to exclude crypto from the existing securities law.

“That’s probably been our biggest focus,” Kristin Smith, director at Blockchain Association, told Roll Call. “And it will continue to be our biggest focus for the next couple of months.”

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