As cryptocurrency becomes more accepted, more and more political campaigns are happy to accept Bitcoin donations to fuel their run for office.
They say that politics make strange bedfellows. However, one thing in politics is easily understood by every politician and political party: money. While it’s nice to dream that good intentions and the desire to do public service are the driving forces behind politics, the reality is that it’s money, and lots of it. Now it seems that another player is entering the political arena to join fiat currency and credit cards: cryptocurrency. Political Bitcoin donations are becoming increasingly more common as prospective lawmakers want a piece of that virtual currency pie.
Hitting the Campaign Trail
Every political campaign is always looking for more money to put (or keep) their candidate in office. While the old guard continue to rely upon cash donations (not to mention whatever kickbacks they get from lobbyists), younger politicians are opening up their crypto wallets to accept Bitcoin donations.
One such politician is Austin Peterson, a Republican from Missouri. His Senate campaign received a total of 24 Bitcoin donations, and one donation (worth $4,500 at the time) was the largest such cryptocurrency donation in federal election history.
Another candidate accepting Bitcoin is Patrick Nelson, a Democrat from New York. They’ve only raised about $400 in donations so far due to their processor, BitPay, having their operations suspended while dealing with a licensing issue in New York state. Kelli Ward, a Republican running for one of Arizona’s Senate seats is also accepting Bitcoin.
Pols Loving the Cryptocurrency Revenue
The big winner in snagging cryptocurrency donations is Brian Forde, a Democrat from California. In August and September of 2017, his campaign raked in over $66,000 in bitcoins.
Even older politicians are having their eyes opened to accepting political virtual currency donations (have you ever heard of a politician turning down money?). Forde notes that “a number of members of Congress have asked for my advice about how they can accept bitcoin as well.”
The first presidential campaign to accept Bitcoin donations was Rand Paul back in 2016. This was due to the fact that the FEC made it okay for campaigns to accept cryptocurrency back in 2014. However, the donations are supposed to be limited to $100 per person and that the necessary information (name, physical address, employer, etc.) be collected as well.
Right now, the number of campaigns and PACS (political action committees) accepting cryptocurrency donations is only four. However, that number is sure to rise when more campaigns file their data with the FEC for the next reporting deadline.
The reality is that cryptocurrency is here to stay, and, as such, it represents another revenue stream that any political campaign can (and will!) tap into. As a younger generation runs for public office, they will be far more open to cryptocurrency than the old guard currently in office. Expect to see more candidates advertising their wallet address in the near future.
What is your opinion on political Bitcoin donations? Is this development good, bad, or just more of the same? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, YouTube, and Bitcoinist archives.
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