A London-based cryptocurrency trading platform is getting some serious lobbying advice from Jim Messina, the former deputy chief of staff to President Barack Obama. This comes as the industry prepares for new restrictions in the United States and overseas.
According to Chief Business Officer Lane Kasselman in an interview with CNBC, the seasoned political operative joined Blockchain.com’s board early last year and quickly rose to the position of key advisor on the company’s government relations and policy strategy.
The crypto business has increased lobbying efforts globally as potentially stringent restrictions loom. This month, the Biden administration unveiled a blueprint for prospective crypto rules in the US, including measures to combat fraud.
Messina, according to Kasselman, served as a crucial road map for the company’s lobbying and general policy-making operations. He pointed out that Messina frequently counsels their staff on lobbying strategies while not being a registered lobbyist.
“You can say that we are definitely one of the most active businesses in the world when it comes to influencing public policy on cryptocurrencies, at least in the U.S. and western Europe. Jim’s advice on that front has a direct bearing on it, according to Kasselman. Formerly serving as Obama’s deputy chief of staff, Messina now serves as the company’s CEO.
Despite not being a registered lobbyist, the Messina Group has advised Uber, Pillpack, Airbnb, Google, Delta Air Lines, and Hutchison Whampoa on lobbying and other policy matters, according to a list of customers on its website.
Messina’s firm has counselled other prominent politicians in addition to Obama, such as Enrique Pea Nieto of Mexico, Mauricio Macri of Argentina, Matteo Renzi of Italy, and the former prime ministers of the UK, Theresa May and David Cameron. Messina tweeted images of himself in the White House for the unveiling of Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s official portraits.
Kasselman attributes Messina’s hire of Giles Swan to oversee Blockchain.com’s European policy and Ian Mair as its director of U.S. policy. One of the crypto corporations that advocated for provisions of the Digital Financial Assets Law, which would strengthen regulation of the sector in California, where many U.S.-based crypto firms are domiciled, was Blockchain.com, which has its U.S. headquarters in Miami. After the law was introduced, they “provided amendments and criticism,” according to Kasselman. The “implementation period” of the measure was their “primary amendment emphasis,” he claimed.
The bill would compel businesses, such as digital-asset exchanges, to get licences via the state’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation and take effect in 2025 if signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom.
Kasselman added that Messina gave them advice on the best ways to influence the European Parliament’s Markets in Crypto-assets rules, which regulate the cryptocurrency industry.
During the time when the EU was debating “whether or not it would basically decide to make non-custodial wallets illegal,” Kasselman said that they had won their most recent battle with members of the parliament and their staff. These digital wallets, which Blockchain.com advertises on its website as an ultra-secure crypto savings account, do serve as such.
Our company’s main principle is that we should provide people ownership over their assets while safeguarding them from any outside intrusion. And Jim really challenged us to consider: “What is that argument, and what will work in Brussels?” What exactly are the concerns of those lawmakers, and how should we respond to them? said Kasselman. We created, I hesitate to call it a campaign, but sort of an argument that we went in and met with some of the ministers and won as a consequence of his advice and years of working with heads of state throughout Europe.
According to a disclosure form, Swan, the company’s head of European policy, met with Mairead McGuinness’ team to discuss the so-called transfer of funds law in May. In a tweet from last year, McGuiness criticised cryptocurrencies and called them “one of the newest ways to launder money.”