Binance.US said Wednesday it is leaving the Blockchain Association and will set up its own government affairs team in Washington.
The departure of the U.S. arm of the world’s biggest crypto exchange appeared to be a serious blow to the industry’s key lobbying organization.
“We believe it’s time we had a clear voice with meaningful impact in the emerging policy debates around digital assets and cryptocurrencies in Washington,” a company spokesman told Protocol.
Binance.US said it would build its own lobbying operation “to actively engage in direct and constructive dialogue with U.S. policymakers.”
In a statement, the Blockchain Association, which has more than 80 member companies, said it “wishes Binance.US the best of luck as they build out their operation in Washington.”
The company’s exit marked an unexpected twist for the Blockchain Association, which has played a critical advocacy role for crypto at a time when the industry is facing heightened 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 player in crypto. The company has been repeatedly accused of violating regulations and not having enough checks against money laundering.
The withdrawals of Coinbase and Binance.US “reflect internal misalignment of leadership within the Blockchain Association, which is not surprising given the differences in the track records of the two exchanges from a compliance standpoint,” Michael Fasanello, chief compliance officer of LVL, a banking and crypto trading company, told Protocol.
“The digital assets space is not a one-size-fits-all environment from a policy and regulatory standpoint,” he said. “Different businesses will have different wants and needs. These are unlikely to be the only two defections from the Blockchain Association.”