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Coinbase Exits Industry Lobbying Group in Protest Over Recent Unspecified 'Decisions'

Coinbase cited recent board decisions that could "irreperably impair" the Blockchain Association.

Aug 11, 2020 at 6:11 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:42 a.m. UTC

Coinbase has withdrawn from industry lobbying group the Blockchain Association. The move comes a day after crypto exchange rival Binance.US joined the group.

  • "Recent decisions made by the association and its board seem at odds with the association’s mission," a Coinbase spokesperson told CoinDesk without elaborating on those decisions. 
  • "We believe that decisions made now have the potential to irreparably impair the credibility of the Association and make it increasingly difficult for it to achieve its goals and those of its members," the spokesperson said.
  • With the departure, Coinbase vacates its founding seat on the Blockchain Association’s eight-person board and membership in the 24-strong organization, now down to 23. 
  • As first reported by Fortune's Jeff Roberts, Coinbase’s Tuesday departure is closely linked to another group’s Monday arrival: Binance.US.
  • The U.S. affiliate of international exchange powerhouse Binance competes with Coinbase for American crypto investors’ accounts.
  • Though Coinbase refused to name Binance.US publicly, a board resignation letter obtained by The Block indicates the disagreement does indeed stem from membership disputes.
  • “Recent weeks have demonstrated to us that the Blockchain Association is not interested in the membership criteria we had worked to establish to underpin the mission of this organization," Coinbase’s Hermine Wong wrote to lobbyist chief Kristin Smith.
  • In a tweet response that also avoided naming Binance.US, the Blockchain Association defended its membership practices. 
  • “The Blockchain Association believes that bringing all of the major companies, investors, and innovative projects together from this young and growing industry is the only way to achieve meaningful and lasting policy and regulatory goals,” it said in a tweet.
  • Binance.US declined to comment.

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