Politics makes strange bedfellows. You’ve heard that before, I’m sure.
And what happened in the United States recently – regarding the Senate and an unexpected dustup with the cryptocurrency industry – was the latest episode to leave voters shaking their heads as they soaked in the realization that, in several places, they cheered for individual politicians they typically jeered. Some Americans tweeted
threats thoughts of becoming a single-issue voter based on crypto policy alone. (The thought of choosing elected officials based on one issue troubles me, a lot, but I get the temptation in the heat of the moment.)
Ironically, the disruption came as policymakers, who have labeled crypto and blockchain as shadowy, money-making industries, tried to slide in vague tax policy on them as an ATM to partially pay for President Biden’s $3.5 trillion infrastructure plan.
Once realized, the cream quickly rose to the top as some of the very best thought leaders, and, more importantly, activists, jumped into the fray. A message barrage from several American crypto and blockchain groups hit social media in a coordinated, transparent way that made messaging easy, and real influence possible.
Even if you’ve never heard of Jake Chervinsky, Kristin Smith, Dan Spuller, Ron Hammond, or Jerry Brito, you should thank them, and countless others, for effectively working their Congressional channels and making it known crypto and blockchain have a legitimate voice both now and forward.*
*As if an industry and tech recently valued (again) at $2 trillion wouldn’t be enough to grab some attention…but whatever.
But, something else was noteworthy through the entire ordeal.
While those folks, and their organizations, did real, valuable work on behalf of the industry, what we didn’t see became pretty obvious, too.
It wasn’t long ago, just a few months, in fact, that some supposed “leaders” topped a hyped up bro-fest in Miami. And while there were some legitimate names and discussions, the Bitcoin Conference left a whole lot on the table with regard to credibility.
The social media and conference-attendee loudmouths who became the collective face of that *bleep*show have banked (pun intended) on nothing more than they were lucky to buy early. That became incredibly apparent when they managed to sit out the most important conversations to take place in terms of an opportunity to marry the tech they allegedly support to policy.
Watching that unfold was disappointing, if not unsurprising, when it is policy where the benefits of blockchain and crypto can be molded and leveraged into a tangible, consumable piece of the public conversation.
In any case, perhaps it was a good thing those Bitcoin Conference types sat this one out and allowed the adults to enter the public U.S. Crypto chat.*
*That’s not to say the Blockchain Association, Coin Center, and others haven’t been doing work before now; they have. They just finally got the full stage and top billing, which is how it should have been long ago.
The adults can continue their work as the conversation moves from the U.S. Senate to the House of Representatives. The others can go back to obnoxious stage antics and Twitter flexing in front of their mirror.
My thanks to those who shared their thoughts with me for this piece. Very much appreciated! If anyone ever wants to slide into my Twitter DM’s with crypto and blockchain industry tips, thoughts, etc., please do @curtiskitchen.
Curtis entered the crypto space as a blockchain and crypto enthusiast in 2017. In addition to those things, he currently serves on the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) AI Ethics Task Force – a group dedicated to guiding associations on ethical standards and practices for implementing AI. He holds KLV in his portfolio and, while he loves discussing “what’s out there”, he does not provide financial nor investment advice.