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Bitcoin can now be used to donate to political campaigns


Detailed within a statement released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC)  yesterday, the government agency authorized the act of contributing Bitcoin to political action committees (PAC). Voting unanimously for the acceptance of Bitcoin, the FEC stated that a PAC could purchase Bitcoin with existing funds as well as accept the virtual currency. However, the FEC did not allow the purchase of goods or services with Bitcoin. In order to use the Bitcoin to purchase anything, the PAC must first convert the digital currency to U.S. dollars and deposit it into a bank account to record the transaction.

Interestingly, this marks one of the first times that a federal agency has set up guidelines on how to handle transactions that involve Bitcoin. Earlier this year, the Internal Revenue Service finally offered up guidelines on Bitcoin for taxpayers, basically telling U.S. citizens to treat Bitcoin as property rather than currency. However, the IRS was unclear on how it planned to track Bitcoin transactions in the future. 

washington dc capitol by thisisbossi via Flickr

Of course, the FEC hasn’t indicated if there are any specific limitations on levels of contribution when it comes to Bitcoin. However, the lack of guidelines isn’t stopping politicians from opening up their pockets to accept the virtual currency. After the announcement, Colorado Democrat Jared Polis almost immediately put up a contribution page that accepts Bitcoin in $10, $25, $50 and $100 increments. In addition, a couple PACs are taking donations up to $100 at the moment.

FEC Chairman Lee Goodman has a differing opinion on limiting Bitcoin donation, indicating that the federal cap of $2,600 to a candidate per election and $5,000 to a political action committee from all authorized donation sources is the only limit guideline that should be used. In addition, Super PACs can accept unlimited donations from individuals or corporations, thus the potential for massive Bitcoin fundraising could be in the near future for politicians. 

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