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May 30, 2024

Better Markets Month in Review Newsletter – May 2024

Below is the opening of our monthly newsletter. View the full newsletter online here

The unfortunate reality is that money talks in Washington. Too often special interests hijack the conversation and policy through influence peddling via endless lobbying, campaign contributions, propaganda, and the revolving door (where former officials sell out their prior public service to serve the high-paying crypto industry).

That’s what we’ve seen happen with crypto in recent weeks and months. As a result, the House of Representatives recently passed crypto-friendly (and reportedly crypto-drafted) legislation that raises serious questions about investor protection and financial stability. This is despite the fact that crypto has no valid use, is the financial product of choice for criminals worldwide, and is not in the top 20 policy concerns of Americans this year.

So how has crypto catapulted to the top of the Congressional agenda? Simply put, money. The industry has flooded Capitol Hill with tens of millions of dollars in lobbying expenditures and is now poised to spend potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to attack public servants who don’t promote crypto’s interests. (This is similar to what FTX’s founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried and his cronies did in 2020-2022, before being handcuffed and convicted of crimes.) The industry has even paid for bogus polls that claim that 52 million Americans own crypto, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

Sadly, while the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has aggressively pursued crypto lawbreakers, last week it doubled down on its historic mistake of approving spot bitcoin ETPs by approving a spot ether ETPs. These useless financial products don’t just endanger retail investors, but also threaten the broader banking and financial system as they become more prevalent and interconnected. Contagion, crisis, and bailouts will not be far behind.

While these are disappointing developments, it’s also a reminder that we need strong counterweights to the financial industry who are independent experts willing to speak truth to power. That’s why this month it was gratifying to see our CEO, Dennis Kelleher, named to Washingtonian magazine’s most influential list for the 4th year in a row. Dennis was one of the only public interest nonprofit leaders represented in the Banking & Finance category, and his recognition reflects Better Markets’ relentless commitment to fighting for the public interest, despite the hundreds of millions of dollars backing the financial lobby.

Yes, our fight against crypto and the wider financial industry often feels like David vs. Goliath. But we all remember who won that battle. The CFPB’s massive victory at the Supreme Court this month illustrates that the financial industry can be beaten. With your support and partnership, we’ll keep up the fight until Washington always puts the interests of Main Street Americans above the special interests.


Anton Becker
Communications Director, Better Markets

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