The North Carolina electoral campaign finance board has denied a proposal made in April 2018 for cryptocurrencies to be allowed as campaign donation funds.
Republican candidate Emmanuel Wilder asked the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to provide guidance on whether or not he could accept donations in cryptocurrency for his campaign.
In an email to the board, he wrote, “I know that this is new, but there is a great opportunity to show that North Carolina is truly open to new emerging markets.”
Unsurprisingly, Kim Westbrook Strach, the state elections executive director, responded in July, writing, “We do not have the confidence that we could adequately regulate contributions to a political campaign in North Carolina in the form of cryptocurrency.”
The board officially ruled that only US dollars can be used as campaign financing due to monetary limits detailed in state campaign finance regulations.
Wilder replied with some optimism despite his disappointment, writing in a statement, “Blockchain and other technologies hold the ability to improve how business and public institutions operate day to day… Although it might not be today, there will be a day when this technology will have a place in the political process.”
Bitcoin in campaign funds
In 2017, the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission declined to allow Bitcoin campaign contributions; at this point in time, perceptions of the soaring coin were skeptical at best. The response came after a candidate had queried the board on the legality of the accepting the digital currency as campaign contributions.
Executive director of the commission, Mark Skoglund said, “There is no physical manifestation of this currency in any way. It’s just alphanumeric characters that exist only online. It is not backed by any government. The value is subjective and highly volatile.”
In July 2018, candidate for state Governor and Chairman of the Wisconsin Libertarian Party Phil Anderson announced that he would be accepting Bitcoin campaign donations. However, his request for “formal guidance” from the Wisconsin Ethics Commission (WEC) was met with similar skepticism but not an outright ban.
The WEC responded after consulting the Senate and Assembly election committees, describing crypto donations as a “serious challenge” to the state’s law. However, the WEC has made no official challenges or complaint as of yet.
Anderson is undeterred by the cynicism and remains adamant that he and the Libertarian Party will “push all the way back” if the WEC does file a complaint.
Talk of cryptocurrency donations on the campaign trail comes at a very interesting time. A Democratic candidate for the 2020 US Presidential Elections has announced that he will be accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum and other ERC20 cryptocurrencies for his campaign.
There is yet to be any particular backlash at a federal level, which is a surprise considering that Bitcoin was utilized to tamper with the 2016 presidential election.
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