Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has created a “crypto native think tank” in an attempt to help shape the global conversation around policies for digital assets.
The newly formed Coinbase Institute will also publish research on crypto and Web3.
Coinbase tapped its Director of Policy Hermine Wong to head the institute. She previously served in the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and before that worked at the Department of State.
The related Coinbase Institute Advisory Board has also been formed and will feature academics across law and finance from top universities such as Harvard, MIT, Duke and John Hopkins coupled with an academic partnership with the University of Michigan.
The University of Michigan has conducted surveys for the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Defense and will partner with Coinbase on an annual U.S. based survey measuring the adoption of cryptocurrencies and sentiment towards digital assets.
The institute published the first in a series of “Coinbase Primers” — reports explaining key issues in crypto. It released a “Crypto and the Climate” report on May 19 to warrant the high energy usage of proof-of-work blockchains like Bitcoin (BTC).
The first monthly insight report in crypto markets was also released which compared market movements in crypto and traditional finance. Each report will focus on a particular theme.
The formation of the institute marks another instance of Coinbase aiming to influence the conversation around cryptocurrencies. In May 2021 it launched a “fact checking portal” with CEO Brian Armstrong saying the blog would be used “to combat misinformation and mischaracterizations about Coinbase or crypto being shared in the world.”
The crypto exchange also created a political action committee in February 2022 ahead of the November 8 midterm elections in the U.S., Coinbase spent over $1.3 million lobbying in 2021, the biggest-spend by a blockchain company that year.
Coinbase broke away from the crypto industry’s largest lobbying group, the Blockchain Association in August 2020, believed to be in protest of the admittance of Binance.US.
The company then formed the Crypto Council for Innovation in April 2021 along with Jack Dorsey’s Square (now Block) and crypto investment firm Paradigm aiming to engage governments, regulatory agencies and policymakers on crypto regulation.
The institute hasn’t singled out specific policies to advocate for but its next move will be to publish more original research which “will provide the public, policymakers, regulators, and academics with a better understanding of crypto’s diversity and interconnection to the overall economy.”