Cryptocurrency advocates in the United States have been putting more effort into supporting the industry, spending significantly higher amounts on crypto lobbying in recent years.
Crypto-related lobbying expenditures in the U.S. totaled $4.9 million in 2021, more than double the $2.3 million of the previous year, according to a new study by the crypto analytics startup Cryptohead.io. The study is based on lobbying tracking data obtained from research and government transparency group Open Secrets.
According to Cryptohead’s findings, the total lobbying expenditure over the past five years amounted to more than $9.5 million. Back in 2017, the total amount spent on crypto lobbying was as low as $200,000.
As Cryptohead estimated the U.S. crypto industry's lobbying expenditure at roughly $5 million, some analysts suggest that the industry is spending way more on things like political initiatives. According to a report by Americans for Financial Reform, Wall Street executives, their employees and trade associations invested nearly $3 billion into political initiatives during the 2020 election cycle.
According to the report, Ripple Labs, the developer of the open-source protocol and remittance system Ripple, is the biggest-spending crypto company in the United States over the past five years, with lobbying expenses totaling nearly $2 million.
Ripple Labs is “possibly the most influential crypto company in the USA when it comes to affecting government policy and regulation,” the study notes. As previously reported, Ripple Labs has been under a lawsuit by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission since late 2020, with regulators alleging that the firm was involved in a $1.3 billion unregistered securities offering of XRP.
Other big industry lobbyists include crypto-friendly stock trading app Robinhood, the industry’s advocates group Blockchain Association, Coinbase crypto exchange and blockchain platform Block.one. According to the data, Coinbase was the biggest-spending lobbying blockchain company in 2021, with expenses totaling at over $1.3 million.
The crypto industry’s increased spending on lobbying efforts apparently comes in response to the crypto market attracting more attention from U.S. regulators.
In September 2021, the SEC threatened to sue Coinbase over its crypto yield program Lend, which the regulator regarded as a security. The firm was eventually forced to cancel the Lend product. Previously, the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ordered Robinhood to pay roughly $70 million in fines for “widespread and significant harm” to its users and “systemic supervisory failures” starting as early as September 2016.