A recent study that gauged voter opinions of cryptocurrencies in US political campaign donations has revealed positive yet cautious sentiments.
The survey conducted by research firm Clovr gathered the views of 1,023 registered US voters across a number of areas including financial stability, legality, foreign interference, and political misuse. The results were then further filtered down by political affiliation – Democrat, Republican or Independent.
Of those surveyed, 60% believe that cryptocurrencies and US fiat should be treated as equals for federal elections; the article also makes note that 21% of respondents were opposed to this view.
In 2014, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) established some loose guidelines for Bitcoin donations; summarily, they are permitted, although only in the form of an “in-kind” contribution and limited to an amount of USD 100. By these definitions, digital currencies do not fall on par with fiat currencies as they are treated the same as other in-kind donations such as donated items, equipment and subsidized rent.
With regards to security, a majority (54%) of respondents have faith in cryptocurrency being secure enough to be used for political purposes; a view that was held by relatively similar numbers across political affiliations.
Under half (42%) of respondents reported that cryptocurrencies were stable enough for political purposes, however, 35% believe that cryptocurrency markets are too volatile for political use.
Contrasting to those bullish outlooks, a majority of respondents (60%), are of the opinion that cryptocurrencies would make foreign interference in elections more common. Additionally, 62% are concerned that cryptocurrency is more likely to be used illegally within politics, a view that was expressed almost equally across all political affiliations.
In the survey, 64% of respondents agreed that politicians would “take advantage” of the looser regulations surrounding crypto donations; voters from all political parties overwhelmingly voted yes, 26% were unsure and 10% disagree.
The above sentiments are not particularly hard to believe considering that bitcoin was recently linked to the interference of Russian hackers during the 2016 Presidential Elections. Furthermore, political donation opinions in the United States are wrought with complexities, controversies, distrust and other fascinating issues that systemic in US politics.
In the US this year, there have been some efforts to not only increase the use of digital currencies in political campaigns, but also the use of blockchain technology in mobile voting apps.
In July, a Libertarian Party member who was campaigning for state Governor of Wisconsin announced his acceptance of Bitcoin donations. This move prompted a negative response from the Wisconsin Ethics Commission (WEC) who doubt the legal validity of such a donation. Regardless, the candidate has said that he will “push all the way back” should his announcement be contested.
In August, the North Carolina electoral campaign finance board firmly denied a Republican candidate the right to receive cryptocurrency donations for his campaign. Also that month, a 2020 presidential candidate announced that he would be accepting Bitcoin, Ethereum and any other ERC20 compliant tokens.
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