Bitcoin Exchange Hops Aboard Internet Association

Coinbase, a company that has maintained a good reputation in a space where others have struggled, is the first member of the Internet Association focused squarely on bitcoin.

Slowly but surely, bitcoin is gaining in prominence in Washington, DC, and beyond.

Last week, the bitcoin company Coinbase announced that it would join the Internet Association, which has gained outsized clout in Washington in the short time since its launch in 2012. IA President and CEO Michael Beckerman said Coinbase’s interests match those of the association’s high-profile members, such as eBay, Google, and Netflix.

“The idea [that] an emerging internet technology would be discriminated against or couldn’t compete because of policy or regulatory issues, that is something all of our companies care about,” Beckerman told CoinDesk.

John Collins, head of government affairs for Coinbase, was equally bullish on the relationship.

“As the trusted brand in the bitcoin ecosystem, we are thrilled to join the Internet Association and serve as a voice for the growing community of consumers, merchants, and developers building on the bitcoin protocol,” Collins said in a statement. “Our vision for bitcoin as a free and open, global payments system aligns with IA’s own commitment to online freedom and innovation, and we look forward to furthering that mission as a member.”

Coinbase, a wallet platform that was founded in 2012, has advantages over some of its competitors—particularly on the reputation front. Some prominent industry figures have been arrested in recent years and currency exchanges have dramatically folded, so it means something that Coinbase can count mainstream venture-capital firms like Union Square Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz among its backers.

But Coinbase hasn’t been able to completely shake off controversy. The firm has faced criticism in some quarters for reportedly making false claims that it was the first regulated bitcoin exchange. And last week, the company’s chief compliance officer, Martine Niejadlik, resigned, though a spokesperson told InsideSources it was because Nidjadlik wants to “spend more time with her family.”

But the Internet Association, representing a disruptive space, doesn’t seem afraid to have members with some rough edges. Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb—all companies that have taken heat for flouting regulatory standards at state and local levels—are prominent members of the group.

(iStock Editorial/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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