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Digital Currency Group files for its first in-house lobbying registration

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(Kitco News) - The Digital Currency Group, one of the blockchain ecosystem's most dominant venture capital firms, is looking to get into lobbying, according to a recent lobbying registration form submitted to the House of Representatives and Senate.

According to the registration, Julie Stitzel, the firm's VP of public policy, has registered to lobby on behalf of DCG in what will be the firm's first direct involvement in the field of lobbying.

This is a major development for the crypto landscape as a whole, as the DCG is one of the biggest players in the game with investments in some of the most prominent outfits in crypto, including Coinbase, Grayscale Asset Management and Circle.

The new filling highlighted DCG's mission to "Support bitcoin & blockchain companies by leveraging insights, network & access to capital." Plans for how much DCG intends to spend on its lobbying efforts were not included in the registration, but the firm will likely address that in its disclosures for the next quarter.

While the DCG has been involved in lobbying efforts in the past through contracts with outside firms Klein Johnson Group and Capitol Counsel, this registration marks an escalation in their lobbying efforts by bringing them in-house.

Data shows that the firm spent a total of $120,000 on contracts with outside firms in the summer and fall of 2021, around the same time that Washington's interests in the crypto industry spiked due to a crypto tax reporting requirement in the infrastructure bill.

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Crypto lobbying is on the rise

This move by DCG comes as the cryptocurrency lobby is seeing a tremendous amount of growth. According to the Washington D.C.-based legislative news website Roll Call, "Spending by the cryptocurrency lobby hit a record high last quarter, as members of Congress from both parties and chambers proved willing to engage with the industry's top priorities."

Lobbying disclosures show that $6.8 billion was spent by the industry and its advocates to lobby Congress and the federal government between April and the end of June, an increase of 31% over the previous quarter. A total of $12.1 million was spent in the first half of 2022 on lobbying efforts, an increase of 17% over the total spent in all of 2021.

The uptick in lobbying efforts comes at a time when regulators have increasingly begun to crack down on the cryptocurrency industry following a collapse in prices in the first half of 2022. Several high-profile implosions and bankruptcy filings have prompted action from governments who have to this point been known to drag their feet on matters of cryptocurrency regulations.

Recent legislative actions include proposals to address different parts of the ecosystem, including tax reporting, stablecoins, and the regulation of markets.

Out of all the companies currently focused on lobbying efforts, Coinbase is the leader in terms of spending. Disclosures show that the exchange spent $1.3 million in Q2 of 2022, which represents nearly a fifth of all lobbying expenditures by the crypto industry, and a total of $2.4 million year-to-date.


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