A federal authority has approved the use of bitcoin to fund political campaigns. The unanimous green-light from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was given on Thursday after months of deliberation on the topic.
But the go-ahead comes with its own set of conditions. Commissioners want donors to reveal their identities and require campaign treasurers to probe all contributions for indicators of illegality.
Global policy lawyer of the Bitcoin Foundation, Jim Harper told USA Today that the vote in favor of bitcoin gives further legitimacy to the digital currency.
“It’s another part of the growing body of regulation that establishes bitcoin as a co-equal part of the financial services system,” said, Harper.
Immediately after the developments, Representative Jared Polis from Colorado and supporter of bitcoin said his campaign would start taking the virtual money. He thanked FEC for recognizing the “rights of individuals seeking alternatives to government-backed currencies to participate in our democratic political process.”
However, it’s not yet known how wide use of the currency will spread in political campaigns. The campaign committee that’s working on election of House Democrats said they have not yet worked out modalities to begin taking bitcoin contributions.
Political observers believe the use of bitcoin to be popular among vote-seekers who are targeting more liberal and tech-savvy sections of the populations.
As The Washington Post reports, the FEC panel did not give nod to use of bitcoin to purchase or sell goods. Although the vote allows a PAC to buy or receive bitcoins, these must be converted into US dollars before being transferred to an official campaign account.
After the 6-to-0 vote, commissioners came out with divergent opinions on whether their decision allows virtual currency contributions only in small amounts. That created confusion regarding the amount of the online currency political campaigns can accept without breaking the guidance.
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