The Crypto Industry Needs A Holistic System To Navigate D.C.Will Schenkel
On July 18, 2018, Democratic Representative Brad Sherman (CA-30) suggested that the United States should ban its citizens from both mining and buying cryptocurrencies, sparking a debate about cryptocurrencies and concern about future regulation.
Assessments of this nature hinge on flawed tropes commonly applied to cryptocurrencies from other sources, namely that it could be used in crime, but also drew on the notion of national security to suggest that it was in America’s best interest to undermine cryptocurrency in the name of the US dollar.
While a healthy dose of skepticism is warranted with the sudden explosion in cryptocurrencies, their lack of regulatory framework, and the general volatility in the market which need to be addressed, these suggestions are out of touch with the realities of the modern world.
Flawed as they are though, his arguments represent a bigger problem though, as they are reflective of Congress’ general lack of technological know-how, which should concern all tech companies but especially those in the crypto space. The 115th Congress is the oldest in history with an average age of 57.8 in the House and 61 in the Senate, and their aversion to technology borders on a luddite philosophy. What’s more, the large majority of Congress comes from non-technological fields; only sixteen (16) members of Congress across chambers have a technology background – 8 from software companies, and 8 engineers.
Thus, it’s likely that others will call for a ban on crypto, which has serious potential ramifications for the industry. While preventing all regulation and continuing to exist in a fully decentralized space is unlikely, there are several steps companies can take to clear up misconceptions like those put forward by Rep. Sherman and others, while at least having a seat at the table in crafting regulations.
The industry should respond with a robust government relations and public affairs campaign to aggressively combat misinformation. Much of this begins with the media narrative – the sensationalized headlines to date and lack of company messaging in stories are mischaracterized as a lack of industry interest or an inability to address the problems it faces, which prompts legislators to take a more heavy-handed approach.
At Definers, we have a well-established system developed from political campaign structures meant to combat these types of false narratives and extend the reach of company messaging. The system has two main components: media intelligence and communications.
The former, modelled after political “war rooms,” focuses on tracking the media narratives themselves by gathering and analyzing reporting daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly, to identify trends. Our mix of cutting-edge technology and a human touch ensures that everything published on your company or industry is seen, and if pertinent, catalogued in our online portal and immediately sent to you and your teams. Since every article gets read and its content analyzed, problematic narratives or a lack of company messaging are easily identifiable. Having this 24-hour operation keeps both our internal teams and our clients abreast on everything that needs to be known every day.
The latter, meanwhile, takes this information and uses it to help our clients shape media narratives through rigorous public affairs and earned media campaigns. From reporter outreach to correcting the record, to media training and booking, our dedicated communications team helps to ensure that the information being read in mainstream and industry news is correct and has company perspective where needed and warranted.
What the cryptocurrency industry needs is a concerted effort to combat the types of sensationalism it’s seeing with its sudden burst of attention; these strategies would allow the industry to craft a more accurate media narrative, and if need be, a more reasonable regulatory framework.