Thursday, April 9, 2015

Rand Paul Accepting Campaign Donations in Bitcoin

Upon officially announcing his campaign for the 2016 presidential elections, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has opened up to donations. And, interestingly, contributions can be sent in the form of Bitcoins, with a caveat that those donations may not exceed $100.
There are a lot of reasons why Paul would make this move, and he has already established himself as a fairly unorthodox member of his party. First, it'd generate a decent amount of media attention towards his campaign. Second, it may help him attract voters who believe in the power of the Bitcoin, often younger and tech-savvy: a part of the electorate that tends to vote against Republican candidates (see: Lastly, it makes a nod at his long-established distrust of the Federal Reserve (a sentiment many Bitcoin supporters share).

Bitcoin donations have been accepted by some political candidates in California, Colorado, and New Hampshire, but this is the first time a presidential candidate has done so. Some worry that if this trend continues, it may be easier for people to donate money illegally (for example, from other countries), since Bitcoin transactions are effectively untraceable.

Do you think Rand Paul's support of Bitcoin is significant?
Is there a need for tighter regulations on campaign donations made in Bitcoins?

Lichtblau, NY Times
Reuters, Newsweek


Christian Carlson said...

This is undoubtedly an interesting move for Paul, but I really think it shouldn't make too much of a significant impact. The act of merely offering Bitcoin as a donation method doesn't really do anything that helpful, and the $100 limitation makes it more so. The concerns regarding illegal donations are sort of petty, and I really don't think there needs to be tighter regulations for something insignificant like this.

Valerie Chen said...

@Christian: I definitely agree that this isn't really a big issue, but it does point to the flaws (or as some would say, the benefits) of the lack of accountability during Bitcoin transactions. Then again, that's probably why Paul decided to make this kind of statement anyway.