|Category||Law & Politics|
|Alma mater||New York University, MBA|
|Known for||Filecoin Foundation|
As regulators and lawmakers have interacted more and more with the crypto industry in recent years, the people who can link the two have taken on central roles in how crypto is regulated. Leading the charge is the Blockchain Association, with membership including eToro, Digital Currency Group, Uniswap, Kraken and Grayscale, and with executive director Kristin Smith at the helm.
Before founding the Blockchain Association in 2018, Smith spent a decade and a half on Capitol Hill, both as a congressional staffer and a lobbyist. Today, she and the Blockchain Association are involved in just about every major policy change that touches on crypto.
In 2020, the Blockchain Association pushed the conversation forward on cryptocurrencies on a wide range of public policy issues, writing educational reports and meeting with leaders behind the scenes. In addition to amplifying congressional leaders at the forefront of crypto-friendly legislation — such as Tom Emmer, Bill Foster and Warren Davidson — the association advocated on behalf of companies facing Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement, including Telegram. Smith was instrumental in sounding the alarm on the Treasury Department’s proposal to limit access to self-hosted wallets and has written to the Treasury on the subject. The Hill also named Smith one of the top lobbyists of 2020.
With a flurry of regulatory actions closing out 2020, the Blockchain Association’s relevance to the crypto conversation seems set to expand. The association spent upward of $120,000 per quarter in 2020, a marked step up from where it was at the beginning of 2019. And while Facebook’s Diem (formally Libra) was the impetus for a sudden surge in regulatory interest in crypto in 2019, 2020 saw a surge in adoption that was regulation-first. Stablecoins and central bank digital currencies are also going to be a defining argument in United States crypto regulation in 2021. In the thick of it all, you will be sure to spot Smith at work.