NFL lobbies the SEC on blockchain technology

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports Reuters

The National Football League lobbied the Securities and Exchange Commission on “blockchain issues” from July to December last year, according to disclosure reports.

Records show that the lobbying campaign represents the first time the NFL has attempted to influence a government agency that oversees financial securities. The league reportedly spent more than $ 600,000 on lobbying both houses of Congress and various government agencies, including the SEC, during the second half of 2021.

In addition to the SEC, the NFL lobbied the White House office, the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce. According to the documents, the NFL targeted these government agencies on a wide range of issues, including “federal regulation of sports betting.”

The forms do not provide more details about the NFL’s lobbying efforts.

Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are built on something known as a blockchain, which acts as a digital ledger that tracks all transactions with a specific token. This global online database is available to anyone with an Internet connection, and it is maintained by an international network of people who help check transaction blocks.

The NFL, led by Commissioner Roger Goodell, is trying to determine whether the crypt could be an integral part of the league’s business, insiders say. The NFL currently earns about $ 10 billion in annual revenue.

At last year’s NFL meeting in New York, officials told CNBC that crypto-related deals are still pending.

The NFL is working with the National Football League Players Association and Dapper Labs to “create exclusive digital videos that provide NFT (irreplaceable tokens) to NFL fans,” the September announcement said. Many NFL stars have already been linked to the crypt, including retired quarterback Tom Brady, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers and Rams star striker Odel Beckham Jr.

The SEC, chaired by Gary Hensler, is trying to figure out how to regulate the various forms of crypto.

Within months, Gensler had promised to put in place a set of formal rules to control the crypto market. The head of the SEC said these recommendations would be developed to protect investors, but there are currently no clear proposals.

Due to the lack of formal ground rules, Gensler, instead, weighed more on a case-by-case basis, determining what constitutes registered securities and thus under its jurisdiction. Sometimes this includes certain cryptocurrencies and platforms.

The agency, for example, has repeatedly refused to approve a bitcoin-based exchange fund because of concerns about investor protection and the possibility of fraud.

The NFL and SEC did not return requests for comment prior to publication.

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Crypto will be actively promoted during Sunday’s Super Bowl game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Cincinnati Bengals. It is said that various cryptocurrency companies have spent millions to promote their products.

The NFL lobbyists listed in the disclosure reports are two veterans of Capitol Hill.

Brendan Plack was hired by the League in 2019 as Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs. Prior to this position, he was Chief of Staff of the then Senate Majority Whip John Thun, RS.D.

The executive leader of the Second League, Jonathan Nabawi, was hired in 2017 and is currently another NFL head of government on affairs who once worked with Senator Chuck Grasley, Iowa, when the legislature chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee.

– CNBC’s Jabari Young contributed to this report.

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