For Democrats to support crypto legislation, messaging is key: Rep. Nickel 

Rep. Nickel, who will be leaving Capitol Hill in 2025, said it’s important to reiterate that SEC Chair Gary Gensler does not represent all Democrats’ views

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US Rep. Wiley Nickel D-N.C. | USDA/"20230830-OSEC-JP-0002″ (CC license)

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One of the crypto industry’s biggest cheerleaders in Washington isn’t seeking reelection, but he’s confident that momentum for moving policy forward can continue with the right messaging. 

“Looking back at this Congress with probably not a lot of success on bigger bipartisan issues, I’m very optimistic that this could be one of the bright spots,” Rep. Wiley Nickel, D-N.C., said of crypto cooperation on Capitol Hill. 

Nickel spoke at the Coinbase State of Crypto event in New York Thursday. Earlier in the day, during a conversation with Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong similarly noted that he believes crypto is becoming less partisan on the federal level. 

Read more: On the Margin Newsletter: CPI takeaways and an update from Brian Armstrong

“Both parties are recognising that they need to address this issue,” Armstrong remarked. 

The comments come weeks after the US House of Representatives passed the Financial Innovation and Technology for the 21st Century Act, known as the FIT21 Act. The bill ultimately passed with 71 Democrats in favor. 

“Frankly, passing FIT21 would prevent the next FTX, and that was really the place we focused,” Nickel said. “And for Democrats, it was a simple message: love crypto or hate it, we should want to have regulation.” 

The passage marked the second piece of legislation to make it through the House last month, coming shortly after Joint Resolution 109, which sought to overturn the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Staff Accounting Bulletin (SAB) 121. The Resolution also passed the Senate with bipartisan support, but was ultimately vetoed by the president. 

As one of the Democrats crossing the aisle on crypto-focused legislation, Nickel said he hopes to change the narrative that all liberals are anti-crypto. 

“The point I think that was important for me to make over and over, is that Gary Gensler and voices like Elizabeth Warren are not the only voices in the Democratic Party on this issue,” he said. “There are many Democrats in all…parts of the party, liberals, moderates, conservatives, who feel the same way that I do, and many other members of the Biden administration.” 

Rep. Nickel, whose term ends in January 2025, announced in December that he would not be seeking reelection this November, citing redistricting in North Carolina that is likely to make the state more right-leaning. He did say that he hopes to flip a North Carolina Senate seat blue in 2026 when Sen. Thom Tillis’ seat will be up for grabs. 


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