In the fast-evolving world of cryptocurrencies, stablecoins have recently taken center stage in Washington, drawing increasing attention from lawmakers as they push for a regulatory framework to govern these dollar-pegged digital assets. Recent data reveals that major stablecoin issuers, such as Tether and Circle, have been heavily investing in lobbying efforts to shape the forthcoming regulations.
According to public interest outlet ProPublica, Tether, the issuer of the world’s dominant stablecoin USDT, has allocated significant resources towards lobbying activities. Tether has enlisted the law offices of Michael Jason Lee, working through FTI Government Affairs, a consulting firm known for its bipartisan connections.
Since the beginning of 2022, Tether has spent approximately $600,000 on lobbying, with a quarterly budget of $120,000 for engaging with both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Notably, in the first quarter of 2023, Tether further allocated $270,000 towards its lobbying efforts.
Circle, a prominent rival in the stablecoin market, has also been actively participating in lobbying endeavors. Collaborating with strategic consulting firm Invariant since late 2021, Circle has spent at least $560,000 on lobbying activities, as reported by ProPublica. The company’s efforts have focused on educating policymakers about its business model, raising awareness among members of Congress regarding stablecoin and cryptocurrency issues, and closely monitoring cryptocurrency-related proposals. Circle’s quarterly lobbying budget currently stands at $100,000. Circle is the issuer of the second-largest stablecoin, USDC, which boasts a market share of 22.6% and a circulation of $29.5 billion.
Paxos, the former issuer of Binance’s stablecoin BUSD, has also actively engaged in lobbying, investing approximately $300,000 since early 2022. Paxos has partnered with bipartisan public policy firm Mindset to advocate for stablecoin legislation.
These significant lobbying expenditures reflect the growing importance of stablecoins in the cryptocurrency ecosystem and the urgency to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework. The surge in lobbying expenses within the crypto industry in the United States, which experienced a 120% increase in 2022 alone, underscores the sector’s recognition of the need for proactive engagement with lawmakers.
While stablecoin issuers have dedicated substantial financial resources to lobbying efforts, it is worth noting that their expenditures pale in comparison to other major crypto companies. For instance, Coinbase, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange, has invested approximately $5.5 million in lobbying since 2015, while Binance.US allocated nearly $1 million for lobbying in 2022. It is no secret that FTX, the now-defunct crypto exchange use to pay millions to politicians as a part of its lobbying efforts.
As these stablecoin issuers strive to influence the regulatory landscape, the implications of potential regulations on the broader crypto sector in the Americas remain significant. The outcome of these lobbying endeavors could shape the future of stablecoins, impacting their use cases, market stability, and accessibility. Consequently, finding a balance between regulation and fostering innovation will be crucial in harnessing the benefits of stablecoins while mitigating potential risks.
In the coming months, it is expected that the lobbying efforts of stablecoin issuers and the broader crypto industry will continue to intensify as lawmakers work towards establishing a comprehensive regulatory framework that ensures the safe and responsible growth of digital assets in the United States.