Coinbase’s Ex-Policy Head Will Lobby for Facebook’s Libra Crypto

Facebook has hired a lobbying firm led by a former head of policy at the crypto exchange Coinbase amid regulatory pushback from U.S. lawmakers over its Libra crypto project.

The lobbying disclosure database compiled by ProPublica shows the Washington D.C.-based FS Vector registered with the congress on Aug. 23 that it has signed on Facebook as a retainer client starting from Aug. 5 to work on “issues related to blockchain policy.”

Based on the filing, FS Vector’s partner John Collins will be the lobbyist for Facebook. According to his LinkedIn profile, Collins worked as the head of policy at Coinbase from September 2014 to January 2016.

Before that, he served as a senior staffer for the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and worked on the first congressional inquiry and hearing into crypto and blockchain in 2013.

The lobbying efforts come at a time when Facebook is getting pressure from U.S. lawmakers over its plan to launch a global cryptocurrency as a payment method.

Just on Sunday, the U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), who also heads the House Financial Services Committee, said her meetings with regulators in Switzerland, where Facebook’s Libra Association is headquartered, did not clear her doubts over the social media’s crypto plan.

Waters notably called for a “moratorium” on the Libra development days after Facebook officially announced the move in June.

This is not the first time that Facebook hires lobbyists and third-party lobbying firms to work on blockchain-related policy.

Politico reported last month Facebook had spent over $7.5 million this year on lobbying efforts for Libra with third-party lobbying firms including Sternhell Group and the Cypress Group and the law firm Davis Polk.

The database compiled by ProPublica further shows Facebook has also signed up the lobbying firm Off Hill Strategies and the law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner around June and July to focus on “issues related to blockchain policy.”

David Marcus image via Senate Hearing

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