Ex-House Speaker, Former Justice Official Join US Policy Crew Assembled by Paradigm

Jesse Hamilton

Paul Ryan, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, will join past leaders of both parties’ congressional campaign committees in a group formed by Paradigm in a bid to help shape the crypto policies coming out of Washington, D.C., company officials said.

The crypto venture-capital firm has been amping up its presence in the U.S. capital this year. Paradigm officials said this new policy council is meant to provide internal guidance when the midterm elections overhaul the political landscape. Next year is expected to mark the most important U.S. legislative moment for crypto to date, with Congress poised to move on stablecoins and potentially cementing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in place as the dominant regulator of crypto trading.

“Crypto – Web3 – has the advantage right now of being pre-partisan,” said council member Parker Poling, a partner at Harbinger Strategies. Poling was the executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee and was chief of staff to Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), who is widely expected to be chairman of the House Financial Services Committee next year. “People don't really have fully developed opinions and neural pathways about crypto.”

Poling told CoinDesk that crypto legislation could be on the “very short list of items” that could find traction during a session in which no single party is dominating Washington. She said she’s not necessarily an expert in digital assets but knows Congress and politics, so she can help bridge the divide on Capitol Hill, “where very few members really understand crypto very well.”

Ryan, on the ticket (as vice president) with Mitt Romney during the unsuccessful 2012 presidential campaign, will serve on the council with Steve Israel, a former Democratic congressman from New York who ran his party’s congressional campaign committee; Makan Delrahim, a former U.S. assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust division; Chris Brummer, a Georgetown University professor who established DC Fintech Week; and current and former officials from the League of Conservation Voters, Electronic Frontier Foundation and National Bankers Association.

The group will meet at least once a month to hash out a game plan to influence future crypto policies in the U.S., said Justin Slaughter, Paradigm’s policy director. On Nov. 16, Paradigm is also hosting a hands-on crypto education session for policymakers in Washington, where Ryan is set to appear.

“Next year is likely to be the big year for crypto policymaking," Slaughter said. He said it was important to get an advisory group that had an especially wide range of experiences to prepare for that. “We wanted this council to reflect all the myriad things crypto touches."

Other big crypto companies have made similar moves, including Binance, which announced a global policy group in September. Binance brought on Max Baucus, a former U.S. Senate Finance Committee chairman and ambassador to China, to lead a board of prominent former government officials, also including David Wright, a former secretary general of the International Organization of Securities Commissions.