Jim Messina participates in a panel dialogue throughout the annual Milken Institute Global Conference at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 29, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.
Michael Kovac | Getty Images
Jim Messina, former President Barack Obama’s deputy chief of employees, is bringing some hefty lobbying steerage to a London-based cryptocurrency buying and selling platform because the business braces for brand new rules within the U.S. and overseas.
The veteran political operative joined Blockchain.com’s board early final 12 months, changing into a key advisor on its authorities relations and policy strategy, chief enterprise officer Lane Kasselman mentioned in an interview with CNBC.
The crypto business has been ramping up lobbying around the globe with doubtlessly strict rules on the horizon. The Biden administration launched its framework on potential U.S. crypto rules earlier this month, together with ways in which may assist struggle fraud.
Kasselman described Messina as a vital information to the corporate’s lobbying and general policy efforts. He famous that Messina isn’t a registered lobbyist, but usually advises their group on lobbying strategy.
“You can say that we are probably one of the most prolific companies when it comes to public policy engagement related in crypto globally, certainly in the U.S. and western Europe. That’s a direct result of Jim and his guidance on that front,” Kasselman mentioned. Messina, who was Obama’s deputy chief of employees, is now the CEO of the consulting firm The Messina Group.
Though Messina isn’t a registered lobbyist, the Messina Group has supplied steerage on lobbying and different policy points to Uber, Pillpack, Airbnb, Google, Delta Air Lines and Hutchison Whampoa, in response to an inventory of shoppers on its web site.
Beyond his tenure advising Obama, Messina’s firm has additionally suggested highly effective authorities officers, together with former UK Prime Ministers Theresa May and David Cameron, together with Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto, Argentina’s Mauricio Macri, and Italy’s Matteo Renzi. Messina tweeted out footage of him within the White House as Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama had their official portraits revealed.
Kasselman credit Messina with the corporate hiring Ian Mair as Blockchain.com’s head of U.S. policy and Giles Swan to run its European policy. Blockchain.com, which maintains U.S. headquarters in Miami, was additionally amongst a bunch of crypto corporations that lobbied parts of the Digital Financial Assets Law, which might tighten oversight of the business in California the place many U.S.-based crypto companies are based mostly. They “offered amendments and feedback” after the invoice was launched, Kasselman mentioned. He mentioned their “main amendment focus” was the invoice’s “implementation period.”
If signed into regulation by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the invoice would go into impact in 2025 and require corporations, comparable to digital-asset exchanges, to acquire licenses by way of the state’s Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
Kasselman additionally famous that Messina guided them on how greatest to foyer the European Parliament on its crypto regulation often called Markets in Crypto-assets guidelines.
Kasselman mentioned they received their newest battle with members of the parliament and their employees because the EU was deciding “whether or not it would basically decide to make non custodial wallets illegal,” he mentioned. These sorts of digital wallets, which Blockchain.com promotes on its web site, act successfully as an extremely safe crypto financial savings account.
“It’s core to our business belief that we should give people control of their assets and protect it from all other potential interference. And Jim really made us think through ‘what is that argument, what’s going to work in Brussels? What is that those members of parliament are worried about and how do we address these concerns?'” Kasselman mentioned. “And as a result of his counsel, having worked with heads of state across Europe for years, we crafted, I don’t want to call it a campaign but sort of an argument that we went in and met with some of the ministers and won.”
Swan, the corporate’s head of European policy, met with the employees of EU commissioner of monetary companies, Mairead McGuinness, in May to debate so-called switch of funds regulation, in response to a disclosure report. McGuiness has been vital of cryptocurrencies, and mentioned digital property had been “one of the newest ways to launder money” in a tweet final 12 months.