Jim Messina participates in a panel discussion during the Milken Institute’s Annual Global Conference at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 29, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California.
Michael Kovač | Getty Images
Jim Messina, former President Barack Obama’s deputy chief of staff, is bringing some strong lobbying guidance to the London-based cryptocurrency trading platform as the industry prepares for new regulations in the US and abroad.
The veteran political operative joined Blockchain.com’s board of directors early last year and became a key adviser on government relations and political strategy, chief business officer Lane Kasselman said in an interview with CNBC.
The crypto industry was increasing lobbying around the world with potentially strict regulations on the horizon. Biden administration released his framework for potential US crypto regulations earlier this month, including ways they could help fight fraud.
Kasselman described Messina as a critical guide to the company’s lobbying and overall policy efforts. He noted that Messina is not a registered lobbyist but often advises his team on lobbying strategy.
“You can say that we’re probably one of the most prolific companies in terms of engaging in public policy related to crypto globally, certainly in the US and Western Europe. That’s a direct result of Jim and his leadership in that area,” Kasselman said. . Messina, who was Obama’s deputy chief of staff, is now CEO of consulting firm The Messina Group.
While not a registered lobbyist, Messina Group has provided guidance on lobbying and other political matters to Uber, Pillpack, Airbnb, Google, Delta Air Lines and Hutchison Whampoa, according to a client list on its website.
In addition to advising Obama, Messina’s office has also advised powerful government figures, including former British prime ministers Theresa May and David Cameron, along with Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto, Argentina’s Mauricio Macri and Italy’s Matteo Renzi. Messina he tweeted from his photos at the White House when Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama had their official portraits unveiled.
Kasselman credits Messina with the company hiring Ian Mair as Blockchain.com’s head of U.S. policy and Giles Swan to run its European policy. blockchain.com, which is based in the USA in Miami, was also among a group of crypto companies that lobbied elements of Digital Financial Assets Act, which would tighten industry oversight in California, home to many US-based crypto firms. “They offered amendments and feedback” after the bill was introduced, Kasselman said. He said their “main objective of the amendment” was the “implementation period of the law”.
If signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the bill would go into effect in 2025 and require companies like digital asset exchanges to obtain licenses through the state Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
Kasselman also noted that Messina guided them on how best to lobby the European Parliament on its cryptocurrency regulation known as the Crypto-Asset Markets Rule.
Kasselman said they had won their latest battle with members of parliament and their staff as the EU decided “whether to decide in principle to make non-custodial wallets illegal,” he said. These types of digital wallets, which Blockchain.com promotes on its website, act effectively as an ultra-secure crypto savings account.
“At the core of our business beliefs is that we should put people in control of their assets and protect them from any further potential interference. And Jim really made us think about what is the argument that will work in Brussels? What is , that these members of parliament and how do we address those concerns?” Kasselman said. with some ministers and ministers. won.”
Swan, the company’s head of European policy, met with the staff of European Financial Services Commissioner Mairead McGuinness in May to discuss so-called funds transfer regulation, according to a published report. McGuiness has been critical of cryptocurrencies, saying in a tweet last year that digital assets are “one of the newest ways to launder money.”