Kristin Smith, CEO of the Blockchain Association, was detained in Costa Rica earlier this week and was not allowed to leave the country. Smith posted on Twitter that she was being held at the Liberia airport and was told she couldn’t leave until the following day and had to spend the night at the airport. On Thursday, Smith tweeted that she had been released to the general area of the airport under the supervision of immigration agents after spending Wednesday night in a detainment center.
Later on Thursday, the Blockchain Association confirmed to Decrypt that Smith had been cleared to travel back to the United States and was on her way home. Curtis Kincaid, the Blockchain Association’s Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications, expressed Smith’s gratitude for the support she had received during her ordeal.
It is not clear why Smith was detained or what led to her release. However, this incident highlights the challenges that individuals in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space can face when traveling internationally. Many countries have yet to establish clear regulatory frameworks for these emerging technologies, leading to uncertainty and potential legal issues for those working in the field.
Smith expressed his gratitude towards U.S. Representatives Tom Emmer and Ro Khanna via a tweet, acknowledging their efforts in assisting him to contact the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica for help. The reason behind his need for assistance and the missing stamp was not elaborated upon by the Blockchain Association, who made the announcement. Similarly, no information was provided about the actions taken by the Association to facilitate Smith’s release and enable him to travel back home.
The Blockchain Association, a crypto lobbying group, was established in 2018 and currently comprises almost 100 members, including prominent crypto companies like Kraken, Uniswap, Consensys, the Digital Currency Group (DCG), and the Filecoin Foundation. The organization aims to promote the adoption of blockchain technology and represent the interests of the blockchain industry before lawmakers and regulators.
The absence of specific details surrounding Smith’s situation makes it difficult to ascertain the exact nature of the assistance he received from Representatives Emmer and Khanna, as well as the role played by the Blockchain Association in his release. Nonetheless, the organization’s swift action in facilitating his return home reflects the positive impact that industry groups can have in assisting their members in times of need.
The Blockchain Association, a group of blockchain and cryptocurrency companies, has expressed its support for the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Treasury over the department’s sanctions on Tornado Cash, an Ethereum privacy service. In a statement, the association urged the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to consider Tornado Cash as an autonomous, decentralized software program that supports the right to privacy, rather than a tool that is inherently illegal due to its potential use by malicious actors.
The Blockchain Association submitted an amicus brief to the court, which is a document filed by an individual or group with an interest in a legal cause but is not a party to the case. The association argued that the use of Tornado Cash should not be criminalized, as it is a tool that supports privacy and security, which are important values in the digital age.
The statement made by the Blockchain Association emphasizes the importance of recognizing the role of privacy-enhancing technologies in protecting personal information and financial data. It also highlights the potential risks of criminalizing tools like Tornado Cash, as it could stifle innovation and limit the development of decentralized systems.
Overall, the Blockchain Association’s statement represents a call to action for regulators and policymakers to adopt a more nuanced and informed approach to the regulation of decentralized technologies, one that acknowledges the potential benefits of privacy and security in the digital age.