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Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Joins Coinbase as Policy Adviser

TL;DR intro

  • Policy Advocacy:Antonio Villaraigosa joins Coinbase's advisory council to promote regulatory fairness in the crypto industry.
  • Equity Focus:Villaraigosa will emphasize equitable financial systems for Black and Latino customers.
  • Broader Initiative:The appointment is part of Coinbase's broader campaign for crypto-friendly policies amid regulatory scrutiny.

Antonio Villaraigosa, who served as the mayor of Los Angeles from 2005 to 2013, has been hired as a policy adviser for Coinbase, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in the U.S. He will sit on Coinbase's global advisory council and work closely with the team to advocate for economic freedom globally.

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Promoting Economic Freedom

In a recent post on X (formerly Twitter), Coinbase's Chief Policy Officer Faryar Shirzad welcomed Villaraigosa, emphasizing the vital need for change: "When 18% of America is underbanked, including 25% of Black & Hispanic households, it means the traditional financial system doesn't work for everyone. It's time to update the system." Villaraigosa is expected to advise Coinbase on achieving a fair and robust regulatory framework that would enable the company to provide secure services for U.S. customers. His role will not involve lobbying, but rather guiding the company to establish equitable policies that benefit communities left out by traditional banking systems.

Bringing Political Experience to the Fore

Villaraigosa's political acumen and deep understanding of public sentiment will be instrumental for Coinbase as the platform navigates complex regulatory waters. Coinbase's efforts come at a time when regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), have ramped up scrutiny of the crypto industry.

Villaraigosa is well aware of the challenges facing underbanked communities and sees the potential of crypto platforms in empowering Black and Latino populations. He noted that 41% of U.S. crypto investors are Black or Latino, a demographic that has historically faced discrimination in the traditional banking sector. Villaraigosa's efforts will focus on establishing a level playing field for marginalized groups through fair regulations and innovative financial platforms.

Building a Diverse Advisory Council

Villaraigosa joins a global advisory council comprised of political and policy veterans, including former Ohio Representative Tim Ryan (Democrat), former Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey (Republican), and John Anzalone, a key pollster in recent presidential campaigns. The team will leverage their collective expertise to push for clear, balanced regulations that foster innovation while protecting consumers.

Addressing Industry Challenges and Opportunities

The advisory council will also address recent challenges and criticisms facing the crypto industry. Criminal investigations involving high-profile figures like Sam Bankman-Fried and Changpeng Zhao have placed the industry under intense scrutiny, and Coinbase itself has faced regulatory hurdles. With Villaraigosa's input, the council aims to build a positive dialogue between crypto participants and regulators.

Moreover, Villaraigosa believes that crypto can offer cost-effective remittance solutions for immigrant communities. In 2022, the World Bank reported that the U.S. sent over $81 billion in remittances globally, with an average fee of 6.18% for $200 payments. By comparison, the costs via crypto platforms like Coinbase are significantly lower.

Villaraigosa's appointment signals Coinbase's commitment to promoting equitable financial practices through the innovative potential of cryptocurrency. His experience as an influential political leader will be crucial in steering the company's efforts to create a regulatory framework that benefits marginalized communities, ensuring that economic freedom through crypto is accessible to all.

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