Binance.US announced on Wednesday that it is leaving the Blockchain Association and setting up its own government affairs team in Washington.
The departure of the US branch of the world’s largest crypto exchange appears to be a blow to the industry’s leading lobbying organization.
“We believe it’s time we had a clear voice with meaningful impact in the emerging policy debates about digital assets and cryptocurrencies in Washington,” a company spokesperson told Protocol.
Binance.US said it would set up its own lobbying operation “to actively engage in direct and constructive dialogue with US policymakers.”
In a statement, the Blockchain Association, which has more than 80 member firms, said it “wishes Binance.US well as they expand their operations in Washington.”
The company’s exit marked an unexpected turn for the Blockchain Association, which has played a vital advocacy role for crypto at a time when the industry is facing increased regulatory scrutiny.
Two years ago, another crypto powerhouse, Coinbase, left the Blockchain Association after the group accepted Binance.US as a member. Binance, a Coinbase rival, has been a controversial crypto player. The company has been repeatedly accused of breaking regulations and not having enough controls against money laundering.
The withdrawals of Coinbase and Binance.US “reflect an internal misalignment of leadership within the Blockchain Association, which is not surprising given the differences in the compliance histories of the two exchanges”, Michael Fasanello, chief compliance officer of LVL, a banking and crypto-trading firm, told Protocol.
“The digital asset space is not a single environment from a policy and regulatory perspective,” he said. “Different businesses will have different wants and needs. These are unlikely to be the only two defections from the Blockchain Association.