The state of North Carolina has ruled that political campaigns within the state cannot accept Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as donations.
When you look across the globe, it seems that Bitcoin (BTC) is steadily marching into mainstream acceptance. Many financial institutions are becoming active participants in the cryptocurrency sphere, and governments are working on the best way to regulate this innovative technology. Cryptocurrency has even made its way into political campaigns, unless that campaign happens to be in the state of North Carolina.
Saying No to Crypto
A Republican candidate for the state legislature, Emmanuel Wilder, asked the state board that oversees campaign finance about accepting virtual currency donations. The Republican candidate even offered up some tips on how to value such donations.
The state board replied to Wilder in a letter, telling him no. The state elections executive director, Kim Westbrook Strach, explained the board’s cryptocurrency rejection by saying that the state’s campaign finance laws are expressed in U.S. dollars and that there’s no way to reliably determine the value of donated cryptocurrencies.
Needless to say, Wilder was not thrilled with this rejection, but he said he believes Bitcoin and its underlying blockchain technology will eventually become a part in the state’s political process.
It appears that Wilder could have used BTC political donations. So far, his campaign has raised $9,500. By contrast, his Democrat opponent (and incumbent), Gale Adcock, has raised $122,500.
Bitcoin and Politics
One wonders why North Carolina can’t regulate the use of cryptocurrency political donations. The Federal Election Commission gave the thumbs up to such donations to political action committees back in 2014, although they did put a $100 cap in place. The caveat was that any donated cryptocurrency had to be converted into U.S. dollars immediately after being received.
Bitcoin and politics are becoming increasingly friendly bedfellows. A number of states are opening up the political machine to some cryptocurrency lubricant. The state of Colorado proposed back in May to allow Bitcoin political donations.
A growing number of political campaigns accept Bitcoin for donations. Republican Andrew Hemingway was the first politician in New Hampshire history to accept BTC donations when he ran for governor back in 2014.
In Missouri, Republican Austin Petersen has already received 25 Bitcoin donations for his U.S. Senate campaign. Democrat Patrick Nelson is using Bitpay to process cryptocurrency donations to his congressional campaign in New York. Democrat Brian Forde, who wrote the White House memo on cryptocurrencies during the Obama administration, is accepting BTC. Forde also co-founded the Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, so crypto is near and dear to his heart.
Presidential campaigns in the U.S. have some involvement with virtual currencies. Rand Paul accepted such donations during his ill-fated presidential run. Currently, Andre Yang is accepting cryptocurrency donations as he runs for the Democrat presidential primary for 2020.
With Bitcoin making greater strides into the political arena, it’ll be interesting to see if North Carolina changes course and eventually drafts legislation to allow contributions to political campaigns.
Do you think candidates for political office should be allowed to accept cryptocurrency donations? Let us know in the comments below.
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Author: Jeffrey Francis