Stablecoin issuers have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into lobbying US lawmakers since the start of last year, records show, at a time when legislation of the sector looks to be back on the agenda.
The industry’s biggest issuers Tether and Circle have spent more than a million dollars between them, according to filings collated by ProPublica.
Tether, which issues the world’s largest stablecoin, USDT, pays $120,000 a quarter to FTI Government Affairs, specifically to lobby on legislation related to stablecoins. Its total outlay since the start of 2022 is estimated to be $600,000.
“As a responsible participant in the industry, Tether believes it is crucial to contribute to the development of a transparent and balanced regulatory framework that fosters innovation while ensuring consumer protection and market integrity,” a Tether spokesperson told Decrypt.
Meanwhile, rival Circle, which issues USDC, has been allotting about $100,000 a quarter to pay DC-based Invariant to educate Capitol Hill policymakers on stablecoin and crypto issues, as well as monitoring relevant proposals.
Its total spending has reached at least $560,000 since it hired the strategic consulting firm in late 2021.
Decrypt has contacted Circle for comment.
Stablecoins on the agenda
It comes as two competing stablecoin draft bills are considered by politicians, with one backed by Republicans and the other by Democrats. Both would allow banks and non-banks to issue stablecoins, but the draft brought by Patrick McHenry (North Carolina – R) would give more power to individual states.
A hearing on Thursday saw the two drafts discussed, with speakers agreeing on the need for a regulatory framework.
“While we noticed two different legislative proposals today, we are not starting from scratch,” said Congressman French Hill (Arkansas – R), chairman of the Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology, and Inclusion. “We have the power to cement the U.S. as the leading place for safe payments innovation.”
Other businesses keeping an eye on stablecoin issues include payments provider Flexa Network, which recently appointed blockchain specialist lobbying firm Key Bridge Advisors to represent it on stablecoin bills.
Binance, which issued its own stablecoin BUSD, has its own lobbying network on the Hill.
The exchange’s stablecoin partner Paxos announced it would stop minting the dollar-pegged token in February, however. Paxos said the move was directed by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).
In the first quarter of this year, it paid $150,000 apiece to two law firms for crypto-related lobbying, though relevant disclosures do not specifically single out stablecoin legislation.
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