On Wednesday, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong announced that the company will begin showing users Crypto Sentiment Scores on its app for members of Congress, and then rank lawmakers on how “negative” or “positive” they are 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
Armstrong said The ratings were based in part on a scorecard created by the Coinbase-backed Crypto Action Network, an advocacy group that recently published ratings for policymakers based on the positivity or negativity of their statements, policies, and votes on the topic.
Two of the most outspoken cryptocurrency skeptics in Congress, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), dismissed the lobbying campaign.
“The only two F’s I’ve ever been proud of: one of the [National Rifle Association] and now one from Coinbase,” Sherman, who has spoken out in favor of cryptocurrency banning, told The Technology 202. “Just another example of the crypto industry infiltrating politics to remain as unregulated as possible and their to protect billions in profits.”
“Receiving an F grade from the crypto lobby group is a mark of honor,” said Warren, who has called for tougher consumer protection regulations against cryptocurrencies. Warren said getting a “positive” crypto score shouldn’t mean “protecting a system where people are scammed out of their money…or a system where insiders pocket all profits and leave all losses for people who.” don’t do this”. I don’t have the big money to gamble.”
The Crypto Action Network gave Sens the highest A grade. Kirsten Gilbrand (DN.Y.), Cynthia M. Lummis (R-Wyo.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), among others. Gillibrand and Lummis have tabled a proposal designed to bolster the industry’s preferred regulator, and Wyden has dismissed calls for strict regulation. Warren and Sherman received the only F notes.
According to Coinbase, “The crypto sentiment rating was compiled using publicly available data, including legislative documents, media statements, social media posts, caucus membership, and public letters.” The company declined to comment on the lawmaker’s comments.
Coinbase’s move notably marks a far more direct approach to trying to influence voters and lawmakers than much of the tech sector has taken in recent years.
Big tech companies have increasingly shied away from open public lobbying campaigns, relying instead on networks of trade associations and armies of lobbyists to invade Washington.
They rarely endorse specific legislative proposals, and their political campaign contributions are typically split evenly between moderates in both parties and the big PACs. Some prominent companies, including Apple and Twitter, have been known to have shut down their PACs, while others have temporarily halted donations due to political developments, including the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol.
While many advocacy groups evaluate legislators based on how well their policies conform, it’s extremely rare for a company to evaluate them publicly, even in the technology sector.
The move signals an aggressive lobbying stance from the crypto community. Armstrong said the company eventually plans to “help pro-crypto candidates to solicit funds [in crypto] from the crypto community.”
While some of its lobbying tactics seem unusual, the crypto industry has also increasingly invested in the same playbook as many of its Silicon Valley competitors — forming trade associations to enforce its preferred policies and hiring lobbyists to launch on Capitol Hill .
Despite a surge in spending, crypto lobbying is still eclipsed by industry giants.
As my colleague Tory Newmyer reported, “The industry spent $8.9 million on lobbying in the first half of this year, surpassing the $7.7 million it spent all of last year, according to new analysis from the Center for Responsive Politics.”
For comparison, Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook parent company Meta have spent nearly $95 million lobbying since 2021 as they face regulatory threats in Congress. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post.)
The White House announces efforts by tech companies to counter violent extremism
Social media services including Facebook parent company Meta, Microsoft, Twitch and YouTube announced new initiatives to curb the spread of hateful rhetoric as the White House called a summit on hateful violence. Cat Zakrzewski reports. It comes after pressure on businesses following mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, Texas, where gunmen posted violent rhetoric online.
“YouTube will update its policy to remove videos that glorify actions to inspire others or raise funds, even if the creators are not affiliated with terrorist groups,” Cat writes. “Twitch, an Amazon-owned streaming service, will soon introduce new tools to help its creators improve security and curb harassment on their channels. And Microsoft will introduce online safety education for students and families in its popular game Minecraft.”
The FTC says it will review gig companies’ practices
In a policy statement, the Federal Trade Commission said gig companies must be honest with potential workers about costs and benefits, keep their promises to gig workers, and not enter into illegal contracts with workers. The FTC also said it will seek “evidence of agreements between gig companies to illegally set gig workers’ wages, benefits or fees that should be open to competition” and “exclusive or predatory conduct that harms customers or.” could reduce or worsen pay are investigating working conditions for gig workers.”
The declaration passed 3-2 and was endorsed by all three Democrats on the commission.
“Regardless of how gig companies classify them, gig workers are consumers who are entitled to protections under the laws we enforce,” says the director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Samuel Levin said in a statement. “We are fully committed to coordinating our consumer protection and competition enforcement efforts within the FTC and working with other agencies across government to ensure gig workers are treated fairly.”
California governor signs law protecting children online
California’s Age-Appropriate Design Code Act requires technology platforms to assess whether their new products may harm children before releasing them, and to offer privacy policies to their younger users by default. The bill passed by the California governor Gavin Newsom (D) signed Thursday, overwhelmingly passing the California Senate and State Assembly.
The law could increase pressure on Washington lawmakers to respond to legislation that focuses on privacy and children.
It has come under fire from tech trade groups who have campaigned against the law, arguing that it would stifle innovation and violate protections of free speech without adequately protecting families. In a statement Thursday, Newsom’s office said the bill strikes “a balance that protects children and ensures tech companies have clear rules of conduct that allow them to continue to innovate.”
TikTok unveiled TikTok Now, a new feature that allows users to post photos or videos at spontaneous times every day, reports Sabiq Shahidullah of Bloomberg News. It is similar to the social media app BeReal. reporter Herb Scribner:
Editor and reporter Aoife Barry:
writer Amanda Silberling:
Customs officials copied Americans’ phone records on a large scale (Drew Harwell)
Uber suffers computer system breach, alerts authorities (Faiz Siddiqui and Joseph Menn)
Adobe shares plummet on deal to acquire design platform Figma for $20 billion (CNBC)
Instagram trails TikTok and YouTube for creator satisfaction, Mosseri tells staff (The Information)
Rumble poised for a $2 billion SPAC (The Verge)
Meta Oversight Board objects to removal of positive newspaper report on Taliban (Reuters)
Her father’s murder made headlines. Now she creates content about it. (Mag input)
- Bruce Miller joined BSA | The Software Alliance as Senior Director for Legislative Strategy. Miller previously served as Kyndryl’s director of federal legislative affairs.
- A panel of the House Oversight and Reform Committee is holding a hearing on federal IT at 9:00 a.m. today
- representative Michael R Turner (Ohio), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, is speaking at a Heritage Foundation event Monday at 1 p.m. about combating foreign misinformation and disinformation while protecting civil liberties
- Drago’s Tudorachea member of the European Parliament and co-rapporteur on the EU AI law, is speaking at an event organized by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Monday at 3:30 p.m
- A panel of the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on antitrust enforcement Tuesday at 3 p.m
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