North Carolina Prohibits Cryptocurrency Campaign Donations

Cryptocurrency has gone beyond being a mere virtual coin. In recent years, it has seen several real-world use cases, from buying a cup of coffee to funding political campaigns. The United States is arguably one of the friendliest crypto countries in the world. This has seen more and more of its political aspirants of late turning to digital currency to fund their campaigns. However, a new provision out of North Carolina seems to be putting an end to that practice, at least within the state.

Details of the New Provision

The Federal Commission in 2014 allowed federal office candidates to accept Bitcoin donations; however, different rules may apply with regard to candidates for state office positions.

Emmanuel Wilder, a Republican from Morrisville running for the state legislature, asked earlier in 2018 if he could accept donations in virtual currency. He further gave suggestions on how to value it. But his request was turned down. The state board that enforces campaign finance rules in North Carolina has mandated candidates not to accept donations in cryptocurrencies.

State Elections Executive Director Kim Westbrook Strach replied to Wilder’s request with a letter this month, stating that cryptocurrencies cannot be reliably valued. She also wrote that state finance laws are written with monetary limits expressed in U.S. dollars.

The letter from Kim left him disappointed, but he nevertheless appreciated the state board’s consideration.

He was, however, optimistic that blockchain and other technologies will one day become acceptable in American politics. He said:

“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.”

Emmanuel Wilder is competing with incumbent Democrat Gale Adcock of Cary in House District 41 in western Wake County. As of June 30, Adcock was ahead of Wilder in terms of funding, with both candidates raising about $122,500 and $9,500 respectively.

The Emergence of Cryptocurrency Campaign Donations in the United States

As mentioned above, cryptocurrency is becoming popular in American campaign funding. Recently, U.S. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang announced that he is accepting cryptocurrency donations. Yang is campaigning for the 2020 United States presidential elections as a Democrat. He announced via Twitter that he would take Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other any digital currencies on the ERC20 standard. The maximum donation amount is $2,500.

Yang is not the first politician to accept donations in the form of digital currencies. United States Senate candidate Austin Peterson said that his campaign received about $130,000 in Bitcoin. This was, however, returned, as the donation exceeded the maximum amount and therefore ran afoul of financing laws. This donation is the single largest Bitcoin donation ever accepted by a U.S. politician.

Andrew Hemingway, a Republican, was the first U.S. politician to start accepting Bitcoin as far back as 2014. New York Democrat Patrick Nelson is running for Congress and has already begun accepting contributions through BitPay. Sen. Rand Paul was the first presidential candidate to receive Bitcoin contributions. Other candidates accepting Bitcoin include Brain Forde, a Democratic congressional hopeful, and Republican Kelli Ward.

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