The cryptocurrency industry has spent a staggering $18.96 million in federal lobbying in the first three quarters of 2023.
The figure surpasses the $16.1 million spent during the same period in 2022, Reuters reported, citing data from nonprofit research group OpenSecrets.
The record-breaking spending occurred despite the high-profile collapse of crypto exchange FTX last year, which had previously ranked among the top ten lobbying spenders.
In 2022, crypto companies, including FTX, collectively invested nearly $22 million in lobbying efforts.
Leading the pack once again is Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States, which spent $2.16 million on lobbying.
Other prominent spenders include Foris DAX, the operator of Crypto.com, the Blockchain Association, and Binance Holdings.
“Our goal is to engage directly with policymakers, build relationships, and bridge the education gap to build a commonsense regulatory framework,” said Kristin Smith, CEO of the Blockchain Association.
The cryptocurrency companies’ increased presence in Washington reflects their efforts to mend their reputations following a series of scandals that unfolded last year.
One notable incident was the collapse of FTX, whose former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, had been a familiar figure in Washington.
In a Manhattan federal court, Bankman-Fried was recently found guilty of fraud.
In addition to reputation management, crypto firms are grappling with mounting regulatory scrutiny, particularly from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which accuses the industry of non-compliance with its rules.
The SEC’s lawsuits against Coinbase and Binance in June, alleging failure to register tokens, have become focal points for the industry’s lobbying efforts.
Furthermore, the cryptocurrency industry has been advocating for the SEC’s approval of a spot bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).
Such approval would open doors for millions of new investors to access the world’s largest cryptocurrency.
Optimism surrounding this possibility, fueled by the SEC’s loss in a key court battle over the matter in the summer, propelled Bitcoin to a 20-month high recently.
Crypto Companies Work to Advance Crypto Bills
Crypto companies have also been working to advance legislation in the House of Representatives.
In July, they celebrated a victory as a congressional committee passed two significant bills.
These bills aim to provide clarity on which existing financial regulations apply to crypto companies.
Although further progress is required for these bills to become law, crypto lobbyists remain steadfast in their efforts.
Coinbase, which launched a grassroots advocacy campaign in September, continues to push for its cause with scheduled meetings with lawmakers in the coming weeks.
In August, the platform also launched a crypto advocacy group tasked with promoting the interests of the crypto community.
Dubbed Stand with Crypto Alliance, the independent nonprofit organization aims to mobilize support for legislation that would create a regulatory framework for digital assets in the US.