Blockchain Advocacy Coalition Takes Sacramento

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From left: Bear, David Grossblatt, Rishi Sachdev, Olga V. Mack

On Wednesday, June 20th 2018 the Blockchain Advocacy Coalition brought twenty entrepreneurs, advocates and founders to Sacramento for a full day of meetings with California’s legislators. What would induce busy blockchain movers and shakers to give up an entire day and drive up to Sacramento at 6am?

Quite simply, to put a human face on the industry that has been typified in the media as fraudulent 20 year olds driving exotic cars and selling Chuck E. Cheese tokens to grandmas. These blockchain advocates gave their time to educate the legislators, staff, and regulators who are tasked with overseeing this industry. This was a critical first step in building up relationships that can help steer the state toward fostering a crypto economy that can compete on a global scale.

Who joined us? Representatives from: Founder’s Dojo, Alt Market, Cage Chain, Propy, Quantstamp, Coral Protocol, TalkDoc, Overlock, Noble Profit, ZS Blockchain, Hats Token, BeefChain, Civics.com. The variety of blockchain companies in attendance allowed us to discuss ‘use cases’ for the technology ranging from improving the security of public records, creating more reliable supply chains and using predictive analytics to fight fraud when using cryptocurrency.

What we learned:

  1. Legislators need examples: Of the 32 legislative offices we met with, 26 had a low-moderate understanding of blockchain. The best way we could help them grasp the range of industries the technology can impact is by having our members explain how their businesses use it. Once we did that, many got excited and recommended various departments we should reach out to.
  2. The biggest misconception is that blockchain=Bitcoin. No surprise there.
  3. Most legislators were supportive of AB 2658 and SB 838. Several asked ‘what’s next?’ — a good sign they would support more hard hitting legislation next year.
  4. Our regulators are not our enemies. The California Attorney General’s office indicated a ‘wait and see’ attitude toward blockchain and cryptocurrency. It’s not high on their priority list - we wouldn’t expect any AG-led crypto sweeps.
  5. The Department of Business Oversight is headed by an industry and regulatory veteran, Jan Lynn Owen, who both understands and is excited by the possibilities of this technology. She oversees regulation of banking, credit unions, financial services, money transmitters, broker dealers and more!

This was a phenomenal introduction to Sacramento politics for the blockchain industry. We still have a lot of education and follow up to do, and we need to broaden our coalition to get it all done. If you’d like to share what your company does with our elected officials or offer legal/financial/technical expertise: ally@blockadvocacy.org or learn more at https://www.blockadvocacy.org/

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