Law firm Thompson Hine, investment bank Wedbush Securities, bitcoin swap trader TeraExchange, and Digital Currency Labs have formed Wall Street Bitcoin Alliance. The aim of the alliance is to promote digital currency 

The alliance presents itself as an “advocacy group for Wall Street in the Digital Age”.  According to its mission, alliance members are interested not only in bitcoin, but in the blockchain technology more broadly.

“The WSBA mission is to guide and promote comprehensive adoption of digital currency technology across financial markets. We do this by engaging with regulators, policymakers and technology innovators through direct communication, comment letters, studies and more to guide the public dialogue about Bitcoin and blockchain technology, so that the financial markets can realize the full potential of these capabilities”

Four executive directors head the new alliance. The first executive director James Jalil is a member of the Thompson Hine executive committee. Thompson Nine is a law firm founded in 1911. It “counsels clients across 33 practice and industry groups, covering 144 areas of law” and employs 350 lawyers.

The second executive director of the organization is Gil Luria, who is also a managing director of Wedbush Securities. Wedbush positions itself as ”one of the largest securities firms and investment banks in the nation, with almost 1,000 employees in over 90 offices”.

Another executive director is co-founder of Tera Exchange Christian Martin. Martin’s firm is the only regulated entity that has a legal right to trade bitcoin swaps in USA. Before coming to the bitcoin business, Martin had a long career in Meryll Lynch and Bank of America where he was responsible for global trading desks of interest rates, credit, and financing.

The last (but not the least) executive of  the alliance is Ron Quaranta, co-founder and CEO of Digital Currency Labs and former Global Head of Trading Analysis at Thomson Reuters. His firm aims to build bridges between Wall Street and the bitcoin economy. Digital Labs has obviously contributed to the creation of the alliance website – the favicon of the WSAB main page is the same as the favicon of Ron Quaranta’s firm.

Currently, the alliance is still open to new members. Full membership is available for broker dealers, banks, and investment funds. Associate membership is open to organized vendors and consulting firms. WSBA does not disclose the conditions of the two membership types and retains a right to reject any application from potential members.

The new organization is interested in several issues in the bitcoin economy. The most important one is BitLicense.  

“Alliance is focusing on Bitcoin regulatory framework, including NYS DFS BitLicense requirements”

The alliance is not the only bitcoin lobbying group on East Coast. In July, the Bitcoin Foundation hired the Thorsen and French advocacy group to lobby the interests of digital business in Washington, DC. Perianne Boring and her Chamber of Digital Commerce tried to enter the Capitol (literally) last August to explain meaning of digital currency to US representative, but only found representatives’ aides in the building.

For a long time, Wall Street executives did not demonstrate any public interest in the promotion of digital currency. The present alliance is the first (and so far only) group with two members of powerful non-bitcoin organizations at the helm.