On December 18, 2023, US Senator Elizabeth Warren sent three letters to the Coin Center Director Jerry Brito, Blockchain Association CEO Kristin Smith, and crypto exchange Coinbase. The senator set January 14, 2024, as the deadline for a response to her inquiries.
In the letter addressed to Brito, Senator Warren voiced her concern over reports that his organization and “other crypto interests” were “flexing a not-so-secret weapon” by amassing what she considers a “small army” of former ex-government officials.
A “Patriotic” Response To “Unconstitutional” Demands, Crypto Think Tank Firesback
Coin Center, a non-profit think tank focusing on the policy issues faced by the crypto industry, sent the US Senator a response letter on January 15. The organization stated:
With respect, we have no obligation to answer these questions beyond the public disclosures we make under the law.
Coin Center affirms that it takes constitutional rights seriously and considers that “free speech and petitioning the government are fundamental rights protected by our constitution,” Warren’s letter “discourages participation in important public policy debates and chills these rights.”
Regarding its opposition to legislative proposals, such as the CANSEE Act and the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act, the letter cited Coin Center’s belief that they are “unfair, unworkable, and most importantly, unconstitutional” efforts, as well as a “waste” of time and energy that could be spent on reinforcing existing laws.
The organization believes that its “proper” and “patriotic” opposition to these legislative efforts for “unconstitutional and draconian” surveillance is being mistaken as “political bias” by the US Senator.
Coin Center: “The Abuse Of The Revolving Door”
Warren’s letter highlighted the “gaps” that allow former government officials to leave their positions and “cash in and go to work as lobbyists or advisers for private-sector industries with a keen interest in federal policy.”
The Senator inquired Coin Center’s Head about this gap, asking Brito to provide a list of former government officials employed by the crypto think tank and details about their responsibilities, economic compensation, and whether they had been contacted about employment before leaving their former position.
Per the list and details of former government officials currently employed by Coin Center, the organization “politely declines” to offer further answers but is open to a conversation with Senator Warren.
We welcome honest, respectful policy discussions and are happy to meet with you or your staff to discuss further.
Coin Center criticizes the senator for the existence of said gap, noting that “if a gap exists, it is in enforcement”, and calls out the lack of effort on “securing more funding for FinCEN, the FBI and DOJ’s crypto enforcement units, and the like.”
The organization affirms that its efforts to find solutions and support sound regulation for cryptocurrency businesses will continue, including Congress’ effort to address the role that cryptocurrencies play in financing terrorist organizations, as Coin Center believes that sound policymaking is only possible when “diverse voices and perspectives are welcome and engaged.”
The Coin Center Executive Director concluded:
As for bipartisanship, we are proud of the work we have done to find solutions that advance sound regulation for cryptocurrency businesses while preserving the freedom to innovate.
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