Kristin Smith, the president of the Blockchain Association and a prominent crypto lobbyist, was detained in Liberia, Costa Rica, earlier this week after a vacation at a luxury resort. Smith took to Twitter to report her detention, directing her message to U.S. Ambassador Cynthia Telles’ official account, asking for help.
Later on the same day, Smith announced her release from the airport detention center, stating that her passport was missing an entry stamp, which is a crucial requirement for entry into Costa Rica. She remained under the supervision of Costa Rican immigration officials while awaiting a flight to the U.S.
Smith expressed her gratitude to U.S. Representatives Tom Emmer (R., Minn.) and Ro Khanna (D., Calif.) for assisting her in contacting the U.S. embassy. It is worth noting that Smith had previously donated $55,800 to Emmer and $5,800 to Khanna ahead of the 2022 elections. Neither lawmaker has commented on the matter so far, and a Blockchain Association spokesman confirmed on Thursday evening that Smith was on her way home.
During a recent appearance on a podcast, Smith commented on FTX’s Sam Bankman and alleged that he had spent more time personally lobbying lawmakers in Washington, D.C., than any other executive she had encountered in her 20-year career. “Sam testified before Congress multiple times, he had incredibly detailed proposals at the [Commodities Future Trading Commission] and also legislatively that he was working on,” she said.
Smith went on to describe Bankman’s extensive efforts in meeting with congressional members, leadership, and staff, including taking them out for drinks. “I’ve never seen, in my 20-plus year career in Washington, an executive spend this much time personally lobbying Capitol Hill,” she added.
The incident involving Smith’s detention in Costa Rica serves as a reminder of the importance of adhering to the immigration requirements of any country one intends to visit. In this case, Smith’s missing entry stamp caused her to be detained and delayed her return home. It is also worth noting that her detention and subsequent release were reported on social media, highlighting the role that social media can play in raising awareness of such incidents and seeking assistance from relevant authorities.
Smith’s comments about Bankman’s lobbying efforts shed light on the growing influence of the crypto industry in Washington, D.C. As the industry continues to grow and mature, it is likely that more executives will engage in lobbying efforts to promote their interests and shape regulatory policies that affect the industry. As such, it is important for regulators and lawmakers to remain vigilant and ensure that the interests of all stakeholders, including consumers, are taken into account.
In conclusion, Kristin Smith’s brief detention in Costa Rica and subsequent release serve as a reminder of the importance of adhering to immigration requirements when traveling to a foreign country. Her comments about Sam Bankman’s lobbying efforts highlight the growing influence of the crypto industry in Washington, D.C., and the need for regulators and lawmakers to remain vigilant in shaping policies that promote the interests of all stakeholders.