Acceptance of campaign donations in the form of cryptocurrency by public office candidates is one of the topics that were discussed by the California Fair Political Practices Commission in their meeting yesterday, August 16th.
Back in May 2014, Federal Election Commission had allowed purchase and acceptance of bitcoin as in-kind donations; for as long as bitcoins are converted into US dollars before they are deposited into an official campaign account.
Seeing how efficiently it works, commissioners of the California Fair Political Practices deliberated on its pros and cons. They recognise that blockchain is a powerful instrument in tracing activity. However, they are apprehensive that the bitcoin political donation sources may come from fraudulent activities.
To determine if the commission will ban cryptocurrency, Chairwoman Alice Germond stressed in the meeting, the importance of indicating what classifies as cryptocurrency before arriving at a decision. According to her, “I would be inclined to think that bitcoin is a thing that is not U.S. money but is more like a currency, like a euro. However, I would like to hear more to develop my thinking on this.”
Chairwoman Allison Hayward mirrored Germond’s sentiment in studying more about cryptocurrency before arriving at a decision and stated that the US isn’t ready yet for blockchain, although it seems like it does have a lot of potential for future.
Commissioners Frank Cardenas and Brian Hatch are also in favor of understanding cryptocurrency more; albeit, their major concern is the threat of fraud. The latter’s trepidation is regarding where the actual source of contribution would come from, as hackers can conceal its authentic origin.
Director Nicolas Heidorn of California Common Cause, a non-partisan organization, suggested to enable cryptocurrency donations until a final decision is made; but his proposal was declined.
For a moment during the meeting, there was a brief consensus in the proposition to allow $100 as a limit of cryptocurrency campaign donation for their mid-term election this year that will happen on November 6th. In doing so, the action would be a perfect channel for them to study how bitcoin campaign donations will impact the elections in preparation for 2019. Although no final acceptance of this proposal was concluded, the commission’s willingness to understand blockchain and cryptocurrency prevented its ban from being implemented.