Crypto industry helps write and deliver own agenda to state capitals

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In July, the state ordered a dozen ATM providers that sell crypto in exchange for cash — including Cash Cloud, Coin Now and DigiCash — to register as money transmitters, despite the business calls, according to documents obtained by The Times.

Last year, Mr. Aloupis introduced the bill to exempt bipartisan crypto transactions, after lobbying calls from Mr. Armes and a trade group he leads, the Florida Blockchain Business Association. (Its members include Binance, the major crypto exchange.) The bill failed to gain Senate approval and was reintroduced for this year’s session.

Russell Weigel, the Florida commissioner of the Office of Financial Regulation, said he approved of the legislation Mr. Armes had championed.

“If I’m going to buy groceries from your grocery store, it’s a two-party transaction,” Mr. Weigel said. “Do I need a license for this? It seems absurd.

Lobbyists from Blockchain.com, a cryptocurrency exchange that moved last year from New York to Miami, and Bit5ive, which makes crypto mining hardware in the Florida area, have joined the effort. , contacting dozens of state lawmakers.

“They’re very pro-crypto,” Bit5ive chief executive Robert Collazo said of the Florida lawmakers.

Going forward, the company plans to raise funds for crypto-friendly lawmakers in Florida, said Bit5ive lobbyist Michael Kesti. Florida Blockchain Association Legislative Affairs Director Jason Holloway is already running for State House, with donations – some in cryptocurrency — by M. Armes and others.

“I don’t want it to feel like we’re paying for influence,” Mr Kesti said. “But we want to support them.”

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