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In a statement released Monday, Coinbase announced it had hired a DC veteran to “engage and educate public officials on regulatory and compliance issues related to Bitcoin.”
John Collins, who has served as campaign manager for a US senator and as an advisor on the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, will join Coinbase as the company’s head of government affairs.
“From the outset, our team has always invested a great deal of time and energy to help educate and inform regulators and other public officials about Bitcoin,” Coinbase said in the statement. “But as more merchants and consumers adopt the digital currency, and as more policymakers seek to understand its core value and promise, that responsibility has become increasingly large.”
Thus, they reached out to the University of Delaware graduate, who spent the last 20 months advising US Senator Tom Carper “on issues related to digital currencies, emerging payment systems, and critical infrastructure security,” according to Collins’ LinkedIn profile. Sen. Carper is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
Coinbase’s statement read:
“At Coinbase, John will engage with and educate public officials and lawmakers about Bitcoin, and help drive an informed discussion around public policy that protects consumers without stifling the incredible innovation we’re seeing at all levels across the Bitcoin community.”
Collins previously managed Sen. Carper’s re-election campaign in 2012 and served as an advisor to the senator for two and a half years prior to that.
“Coinbase’s desire to insert itself into the regulatory conversation is motivated, in part, by self-interest,” the New York Times’ Sydney Ember wrote on Monday.
“As a wallet provider and payment processor, the company’s core businesses are in some ways dependent on how government agencies decide to treat the currency. But the company insists it is trying to preserve the core values of Bitcoin and ensure that it continues to be an open platform that anyone can use.”
Collins has in the past made himself available to the Bitcoin community, having spoken at the New York Inside Bitcoins Conference back in April.
“Collins explained the fundamental challenge that the US government faces in dealing with bitcoin: the government is concerned about consumer protection and doesn’t want to ‘chase [their] tails on the law enforcement side,’ but regulators also want to avoid stifling innovation and driving jobs and capital overseas,” CoinDesk’s Tom Sharkey reported from that conference last spring.
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