Coinbase CEO Wednesday Brian Armstrong announced that the company would begin showing users of its app “crypto sentiment scores” for members of Congress, rating lawmakers on how “negative” or “positive” they were toward cryptocurrency.
1/ Starting today, Coinbase will begin integrating our crypto policy efforts directly into our app. These will help our 103 million verified users learn about the crypto positions held by political leaders where they live. pic.twitter.com/3GqWZIioZQ
—Brian Armstrong (@brian_armstrong) September 14, 2022
amstrong said the ratings were partly based on a Scorecard created by the Coinbase-backed Crypto Action Network, an advocacy group that recently released notes for decision makers based on the positivity or negativity of their statements, policies and votes on the matter.
Two of Congress’s most vocal cryptocurrency skeptics, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-California) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), have pushed back against the lobbying campaign.
“The only two Fs I’ve ever been proud to receive: one from [National Rifle Association] and now one from Coinbase,” Sherman, who has called to ban cryptocurrencytold The Technology 202. “Just another example of the crypto industry getting into politics to stay as lightly regulated as possible and protect their billions in profits.”
“Receiving an F rating from the crypto lobby group is a badge of honor,” said Warren, who called for tougher consumer protection regulations against cryptocurrency. Warren said that receiving a “positive” crypto score shouldn’t mean “wanting to protect a system in which people get their money cheated…or a system in which insiders reap all the profits and leave all the losses to people who don’t. don’t. I don’t have a lot of money to gamble.
The Crypto Action Network has awarded its highest A ratings to Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.), Cynthia M. Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), among others. Gillibrand and Lummis presented a proposal empowering the industry’s preferred regulator, and Wyden pushed back on calls for heavy regulation. Warren and Sherman received the only F grades.
According to Coinbase, “The Crypto Sentiment Score was compiled using publicly available data, including legislative documents, media statements, social media posts, caucus members, and public letters.” The company has not commented on the lawmakers’ remarks.
Coinbase’s move notably marks a much more direct approach to trying to influence voters and lawmakers than most tech sectors have taken in recent years.
Big tech companies have increasingly shunned overtly public lobbying campaigns, relying instead on networks of trade associations and armies of lobbyists to bombard Washington.
They rarely endorse specific legislative proposals, and their political campaign donations tend to be split evenly between moderates of both parties and mainstream PACs. Some prominent companies, including Apple and Twitter, have shut down their PACs, while others have occasionally halted donations due to political developments, including the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol.
While many advocacy groups rate lawmakers on their policy alignment, it’s extremely rare for a company to rate them publicly, including in the tech industry.
This move signals an aggressive lobbying posture by the crypto community. Armstrong said the company eventually plans to “help pro-crypto candidates solicit donations [in crypto] of the crypto community.
Although some of its lobbying tactics seem uncommon, the crypto industry has also increasingly invested in the same playbook as many of its Silicon Valley peers – launching trade associations to lobby for his favorite policies and hiring lobbyists to pitch on Capitol Hill.
Despite a slight increase in spending, crypto lobbying is still overshadowed by industry giants.
Like my colleague Curator Newmyer reported: “The industry spent $8.9 million on lobbying in the first half of this year, surpassing the $7.7 million spent throughout last year, according to new analysis from the Center for Responsive Politics”.
In comparison, Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook’s parent company Meta spent nearly $95 million in lobbying since 2021 as they face regulatory threats in Congress. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
White House announces tech companies’ efforts to counter violent extremism
Social media services including Facebook parent Meta, Microsoft, Twitch and YouTube have announced new initiatives to limit the spread of hateful rhetoric as the White House convenes a summit on hate-fueled violence, Cat Zakrzewski reports. This follows pressure on businesses following mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, where shooters posted violent rhetoric online.
“YouTube will update its policies to remove videos that glorify acts to inspire others or raise funds, even when the creators have no ties to terrorist groups,” Cat wrote. “Twitch, an Amazon-owned streaming service, will soon be rolling out new tools to help its creators improve security and limit harassment on their channels. And Microsoft will launch online safety education for students and families in its popular game Minecraft.
FTC says it will review practices of gig companies
In a policy statement, the Federal Trade Commission said gig companies must be honest with potential workers about costs and benefits, must keep their promises to gig workers, and cannot have illegal contracts with workers. The FTC also said it would investigate “evidence of agreements between gig companies to unlawfully set wages, benefits, or fees for gig workers who should be open to competition” and “business conduct.” exclusionary or predatory that could harm customers or reduce pay or poor working conditions for gig workers.
The statement passed 3-2 with the support of all three Democrats on the committee.
“No matter how gig businesses choose to classify them, gig workers are consumers entitled to protection under the laws we enforce,” said the director of the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau. Samuel Levine said in a statement. “We are fully committed to coordinating our consumer protection and competition enforcement efforts within the FTC, as well as working with other government agencies to ensure gig workers are treated fairly.”
California governor signs law to protect children online
The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act requires tech platforms to assess whether their new products could harm children before releasing them and offer default safeguards for their young users. Bill, as the Governor of California. Gavin Newsom (D) signed Thursday, passed overwhelmingly by the California State Senate and Assembly.
The law could increase pressure on Washington lawmakers to act on privacy and child-focused legislation.
It has been criticized by tech trade groups, who have lobbied against the bill and argued that it would stifle innovation and violate free speech protections while failing to adequately protect families. In a statement Thursday, Newsom’s office said the bill “strikes a balance that protects children and ensures that tech companies will have clear rules of conduct that will allow them to continue to innovate.”
TikTok has unveiled TikTok Now, a new feature that allows users to post daily photos or videos at spontaneous times, Sabiq Shahidullah of Bloomberg News reports. It’s similar to the BeReal social media app. Journalist herb engraving:
Editor and journalist Aife Barry:
Writer Amanda Silberling:
Customs officers copied Americans’ phone data on a massive scale (Drew Harwell)
Uber victim of a computer flaw, alerts the authorities (Faiz Siddiqui and Joseph Menn)
- Bruce Miller joined BSA | The Software Alliance as Senior Director of Legislative Strategy. Miller previously worked as director of federal legislative affairs at Kyndryl.
- A panel of the House Oversight and Reform Committee holds a federal IT hearing today at 9 a.m.
- representing Michael R. Turner (Ohio), the House Intelligence Committee’s top Republican, speak at a Heritage Foundation event on countering foreign misinformation and disinformation while protecting civil liberties Monday at 1 p.m.
- Dragos Tudorachemember of the European Parliament and co-rapporteur of the EU IA act, speak at a Center for Strategic and International Studies event on Monday at 3:30 p.m.
- A panel of the Senate Judiciary Committee holds an antitrust enforcement hearing Tuesday at 3 p.m.