Congressional Candidate Accepts Bitcoin Donations for 2018 Election Cycle

A congressional candidate announced he will be accepting bitcoin donations for his campaign. The politician is Patrick Nelson. He will be running for New York’s 21st Congressional District. Nelson made comments that he will be accepting the donations via Bitpay. 

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Congressional Candidate Accepts Bitcoin Donations for 2018 Election Cycle
Patrick Nelson / Times Union Photo

The candidate is a Bernie Sanders supporter. He is also a former staff member in the New York Legislature. He is advocating a progressive reform campaign for the coming 2018 election cycle. A Timesunion article elaborated:

“He proposes ending federal subsidies for fossil fuels in order to inject the savings into other parts of the budget. He wants more of a focus on solar energy generation and microgrids.”

BitPay Bitcoin Donations for the Campaign

Nelson chose to receive donations in bitcoin for his campaign. He opted to use Bitpay for the transactions. Nelson apparently accepted bitcoin donations for a previous campaign. He ran for a seat on the Stillwater Town Council in 2015, but ultimately failed. Nelson commented on his campaign and desire to accept bitcoin:

Our goal in this campaign has been and continues to be bringing 21st Century policies to the 21st District. That means we embrace innovation and new technologies like the blockchain and bitcoin.

Government Allows Politicians to Accept Bitcoin Donations

It is interesting that politicians like Nelson accept bitcoin, because government made it lawful for them to accept it. The US Federal Elections Commission (FEC) gave approval for political candidates to accept bitcoin back in 2014. According to the rules, this is a kind of “in-kind” donation, and each donor has a $100 cap on what they can provide. Once the candidate accepts it, they have 10 days to sale the bitcoin and place the returns into their campaign fund. An official document went into more detail:

Politician Accepts Bitcoin Donations for 2018 Election Cycle

“The Commission further concludes that the requestor may purchase bitcoins with funds from its campaign depository for investment purposes but may not make disbursements using those purchased bitcoins because Commission regulations require the committee’s funds to be returned to a campaign depository before they are used to make disbursements…Within 10 days of receipt of a contribution, a treasurer may return the contribution to the contributor without having deposited it; otherwise, a treasurer must deposit the contribution into a campaign depository.”

Nelson is not the first candidate to accept bitcoin donations either. Candidates accepting bitcoin was originally popularized by Rand Paul. He initiated taking cryptocurrency donations during the 2016 presidential campaign.

What do you think about political candidates accepting bitcoin? Will more politicians begin to accept it? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock and Times Union.


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