Several weeks ago, it was announced that the New York State Department of Financial Services had released BitLicense proposals, an indication that regulators have begun to view cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, much more seriously.
On the heels of that release came the announcement that a trade association had been formed by a group of bitcoin supporters.
Known as the Digital Chamber of Commerce, 1 the group has stated it serves as an authoritative representative in Washington, D.C. for the digital commerce industry with the goal of promoting the acceptance and use of cryptocurrencies. The group made the announcement of its inception during the North American bitcoin Conference, held in Chicago.
As a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization, The Chamber is able to act as a lobbyist and has wasted no time in getting to work. Led by Perianne Boring, the group has already made significant strides in promoting digital assets. Boring, who is a former Congressional staffer and journalist, has been quite vocal about the group's future plans. With early backing from Tally Capital and RRE Ventures, The Chamber is making steady progress with a seed round of fundraising.
Along with providing a platform for assisting in the legitimization of digital currency among policymakers, the group is also working toward providing a support base where policymakers can obtain non-biased information regarding digital assets.
According to Ms. Boring, the organization is not intended to compete with the bitcoin Foundation, a group that is also classified as a nonprofit. The primary distinction between the two groups is that the bitcoin Foundation does not serve specifically as a lobbying firm.
In the past several months, not all members have been pleased with the bitcoin Foundation, particularly after new board members were elected, ultimately leading to the public resignation of several members and complaints of a lack of transparency. Boring has reported that the Chamber intends to raise approximately $120,000 and has a goal of ultimately reaching a $1.5 million annual budget. The group has also stated explicit intentions to be transparent regarding any fundraising efforts.
Recently, the Chamber issued a statement in which it indicated that the bitcoin regulations proposed by the New York State Department of Financial Services are considered severely debilitating to the digital assets industry.
Not wasting any time in moving forward, the Chamber of Digital Commerce has also announced intentions of forming a political action committee to assist in furthering the interests of the cryptocurrency industry. Ms. Boring has already filed the necessary documents with the Federal Election Commission in order to create the PAC. The formation of the new PAC will make it possible for the Chamber of Digital Commerce to offer campaign donations to political candidates who are in support of cryptocurrencies. Ms. Boring has stated that to date the Chamber is still at the beginning stages of forming the PAC, however.
Even so, with the announcement of the formation of such a PAC, the Chamber will be positioned to influence an expanding element of the political process in the United States and ultimately support candidates who are active regarding issues related to digital assets. Once officially set up, the PAC will be able to donate funds to support events and initiatives related to bitcoin throughout the United States. The PAC could also serve as a prototype for additional PACs that may form at some point in the future. Political action committees are allowed to provide thousands of dollars other PACS or individual candidates within an election cycle.
The Chamber has stated that it believes exemptions should be put into place by the NYDFS for startups and small businesses for digital currency or run the risk of restraining innovation and growth.
New York's proposed BitLicense regulations have made waves throughout the cryptocurrency industry. It has been asserted that the proposed regulations are intended to provide protection for consumers while eliminating illegal activity related to the use of cryptocurrency. For its part, the Digital Chamber has concurred that guardrails are needed but has further stated that the proposed regulations, as they stand, are too burdensome and hold the potential to seriously hamper legitimate use of what has become a valuable and rapidly emerging economic arena. The Digital Chamber has also been particularly vocal about the fact that the NYDFS only provided a 45-day comment period, which is viewed as being seriously insufficient in relation to the scope of the proposed regulations. Ms. Boring requested that the comment period be extended through the rest of the year in order for the industry to have sufficient time in order to review and respond to the regulations.
Exactly how the issue will shape up remains to be seen, but for now, the cryptocurrency community certainly has a fresh voice.
1) Chamber of Digital Commerce.