California’s political campaign monitoring agency has outlawed the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for political donations. This move comes after a report submitted to the body highlighting the legality of cryptocurrency donations in several states across the U.S.
No Bitcoin Donations for Political Campaigns
According to AP, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), California’s political campaign monitoring body, banned the use of digital currencies like Bitcoin for political donations. The non-partisan Commission composed of five members held a vote on Thursday (September 20, 2018) which resulted in a 3-1 majority, in favor of the prohibition.
The FPPC’s decision follows on from its August 2018 hearing where it deliberated whether cryptocurrencies could be used for political donations. At the time, the panel was unable to come to a consensus. Some members argued for a blanket ban while others suggested a cap on virtual currency donations.
The reason for the ban, according to available reports, is the anonymity of cryptocurrency transactions. The Commission is reportedly concerned about the difficulty in tracking cryptocurrency payments.
However, non-privacy focused cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether, etc. are demonstrably easy to track. All transactions are recorded on a public blockchain that can be viewed. In a recent report, United States DEA Special Agent, Lilita Infante, said that public blockchains provide tools to track transactions.
Furthermore, the United States Federal Elections Commission (FEC) does not prohibit Bitcoin donations for federal political hopefuls. In 2014, the FEC ruled that cryptocurrency donations are “in-kind donations.”
Cryptocurrency and Politics
The decision by the FPPC to ban cryptocurrency political donations follows an emerging trend in the United States. In August, the state of North Carolina issued a ban on virtual currency campaign donations. According to reports at the time, the state’s electoral board said that there were no reliable means of ascertaining the value of a cryptocurrency donation.
Elsewhere, cryptocurrency continues to be a popular topic in the United States political scene. From multiple congressional hearings to some states accepting Bitcoin’s use in tax payment, cryptocurrency and politics are becoming increasingly intertwined.
In July, Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States formed a political action committee (PAC). The move signaled an emerging trend of cryptocurrency stakeholders increasing their lobbying efforts in Washington.
Do you agree with the Fair Political Practices Commission’s grouse against Bitcoin donations for electoral campaigns? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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