The U.S. Federal Election Commission has taken a leap into the Digital Age, approving the use of the virtual currency Bitcoin to make financial contributions to political candidates. The FEC’s move comes as several candidates running in this year’s midterm elections have started accepting Bitcoin contributions. In an opinion issued earlier this month, the agency’s six commissioners unanimously adopted guidelines proposed by the Make Your Laws political action committee. The Federal Election Campaign Act defines a “contribution” as “any gift … of money or anything of value,” and, the commission concluded, Bitcoins “are ‘money or anything of value’ within the meaning of the Act.” Under Make Your Laws’ guidelines, contributions will be limited to $100 per donor per election cycle and, to promote transparency, an individual must provide identifying information, including name, physical address and employer, in order to make a contribution.
While Bitcoins are now widely accepted as an alternative to credit cards on e-commerce websites, their use in the political arena is being hailed as a major step toward legitimacy.
“The [FEC’s] decision reinforces Bitcoin’s parity with the dollar on the world political stage,” Marco Santori, chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation’s Regulatory Affairs Committee, told MintPress News. “Over the course of the last year, we have witnessed explosive growth in Bitcoin adoption by merchants and consumers,” he added. “The FEC’s decision continues this trend and permits users to vote with their Bitcoins, just as others can vote with their dollars.”
Last year, the commission balked at a Bitcoin proposal submitted by the Conservative Action Fund PAC after critics including Make Your Laws raised concerns about transparency, auditability and the prevention of money laundering.
Full Article: FEC Decision Pushes Bitcoin Further Toward Legitimacy.