Ethics officials in the U.S state of Wisconsin are at odds as to whether bitcoin donations for political campaigns should be permitted including other cryptocurrencies. The state follows the steps of Montana, Washington, D.C, and the U.S. government if this move is approved.
During a hearing on April 24, the Wisconsin Ethics Commission argued over the matter but no decision was made. One member who was in great in favor of this move is Phil Anderson, chairman of the Wisconsin Libertarian Party.
According to Anderson, cryptocurrencies “are more and more widely accepted as currency and as stores of value…The Chicago Board Options Exchange offers a futures market for bitcoin. And other financial platforms, corporations, and governments are weighing in on not ‘whether’ to address cryptocurrencies, but ‘how.’”
However, several commissioners were not in favor of this thinking stating they have concerns about the privacy of crypto donations and hence could lead to violations of campaign contribution regulations.
“If we can’t accurately and immediately describe who are donating these funds, there’s a hesitation on my behalf to allow it,” said Commissioner Pat Strachota.
Jimmy Anderson, Wisconsin State Representative, a Democrat posted that approving cryptocurrency donations “is really dangerous…The ability to conceal who is making the contributions alone is going to make this an ethical nightmare.”
Libertarian Phil Anderson responded by explaining that the state should adhere to the guidelines sued by the Federal Elections Commission, which states that bitcoin be immediately changed to U.S. dollars and then reported as an “in-kind” donation such as a gift.
Even though the state of California does not stop this move, it, however, suggests that politicians should not accept cryptocurrencies as campaign donations. It comes as a surprise that there is a sluggish acceptance of cryptocurrency campaign donation given that many American politicians are presenting using them.
During the presidential elections in 2016, U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky was known to accept bitcoin campaign donations.
It is no surprise that he accepts cryptocurrency given that he is a Republican by party affiliation, but an acknowledged libertarian by personal beliefs.
In a similar way, Missouri Republican Austin Petersen, who is going in for Senate, accepted 24 fractional bitcoin donations ($9,700) in January 2018. According to his campaign manager, Jeff Carson, his acceptance of cryptocurrencies goes in line with his libertarian political beliefs.
“Austin is personally a fan of competition in the marketplace, even when it comes to our currency,” Carson told ABC News. “With the rise of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, it was a no-brainer for us to use those.”
Given that politicians will accept any form of money from anyone willing to give, it comes as a surprise to many that there is still hesitation to accept cryptocurrency as a campaign donation.
“It’s just another form of payment,” said Paul Paterakis, the press secretary for a New York politician. “It’s a common misconception that bitcoin is truly anonymous. It’s not. It can be traced on the blockchain (the open ledger) quite easily.”
As the debate continues, bitcoin prices have benefited significantly over the weekend..