There are few things the cryptocurrency community loves more than outspokenness - except, perhaps, putting your money where your mouth is.
Jesse Powell, CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, donated $1 million to the nonprofit Coin Center on Monday night at the advocacy organization's annual gala in New York City. Kraken also pledged to match any donation to Coin Center until the end of the month, up to $1 million.
It was the biggest single donation made to Coin Center, said Neeraj Agrawal, a spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based think tank.
Kraken, based in San Francisco, is no stranger to the regulatory minefield Coin Center strives to defuse and build bridges across.
In April, Kraken was one of 13 exchanges that received an inquiry regarding "internal controls and safeguards to protect consumer assets" from former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Unlike many competitors, Powell refused to respond, saying his exchange can "dodge this bullet" because it left New York in 2015, spurred by what he called the state's onerous regulatory approach.
Kraken's donation won Powell a round of applause. Sporting a baseball cap, the long-haired maverick entrepreneur did not make any remarks, letting the donation speaking for itself.
Almost as warmly received was the litany of cryptocurrency-themed jokes delivered by Coin Center's director of research, Peter Van Valkenburgh.
"Fork: really a word that usually isn't in need of translation for the average person, you may be holding one right now," Van Valkenburgh told the audience of finely-attired crypto veterans munching on their first course. He added:
"For cryptocurrency enthusiasts, this translates pretty directly to: free coins! And I'd add that, to their tax attorney, this translates to: 'fuck.'"
Jokes aside, the theme of the night was the importance of coming together as a community to curb stifling regulation through transparency and education.
Coin Center director Jerry Brito said a representative from the nonprofit has attended every congressional hearing related to cryptocurrency since 2013.
As several cryptocurrency industry experts said earlier in the day during a panel at Consensus 2018, the current regulatory environment for lawful exchanges could be aptly described as "a mess."
As ironic as it may seem, Brito told the audience donations like Powell's help the community fight for "the cypherpunk dream."
Bitcoin and dollars image via Shutterstock
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