The firms behind the three largest stablecoins Tether, Circle, and Paxos have all been lobbying in Washington DC over the past year.
Tether retains FTI Government Affairs through the Law Offices of Michael Jason Lee, Circle retains Invariant, and Paxos retains Mindset Advocacy.
FTI Government Affairs began its work for Tether in the first quarter of 2022 and has been paid approximately $120,000 in each quarter ever since.
Circle was the first to begin lobbying with Invariant, beginning its work at the end of 2021. It was paid between $90,000 and $100,000 for each quarter.
Paxos began in the same quarter as Tether but has invested significantly less, spending approximately half of what Tether has spent on lobbying so far.
The disclosures for FTI Government Affairs and Mindset Advocacy don’t mention any specific pieces of legislation. However, the disclosure for Invariant does mention monitoring the Digital Commodities Consumer Protection Act and the Responsible Financial Innovation act. These are two acts that would have affected stablecoins.
Major stablecoin issuers choosing to focus their energies on lobbying is a relatively new phenomenon that just so happens to coincide with increasing calls for stablecoin regulation. But despite this, other cryptocurrency firms are still outspending them.
Coinbase, for example, has spent approximately $5.5 million so far on its internal lobbying operation, which has been running since 2015. This doesn’t include the multiple external lobbying firms that the exchange has retained over the years.
Other crypto exchanges also have their own in-house lobbying operations, including Kraken, which has spent approximately $500,000. Kraken also relies on external lobbyists, including the previously mentioned Invariant.
Offshore exchanges like Binance have also hired lobbyists. The firm appears to be stepping up its efforts, hiring one firm at the end of last year, another for the first quarter of this year, and a third this quarter.
As crypto legislation becomes a more important political issue, we can expect firms in the space to continue scaling their lobbying efforts.