Bitcoin just got another vote of support from the world of politics. Oakland mayoral candidate Bryan Parker said that he believes the currency will ultimately help solve many of Oakland’s problems.
Parker is no stranger to the tech world: he worked as senior director of finance at the security firm iPass over a decade ago. He believes Bitcoin can be used to tackle poverty and address crowdfunding as a way to increase financing for civic development.
In an interview with SFGate, Parker elaborated on his vision of bitcoin challenging poverty in Oakland:
“What I'm doing is engaging in the fight on poverty, which is a big, ambitious goal. What is one of the ways you get poor people into different habits? You start getting them to save more, get them online. (Bitcoin) is a way of using modern technology that's helpful in doing that. If I have money in the bank, I have embedded in the system a savings pattern because I have to go somewhere to get money. When you're operating on cash, all your cash is there and it's harder to keep track of. We're reversing the paradigm here. I think (bitcoin) is something we can do in combination with financial literacy to drive better behavior.”
Parker emphasized that introducing Bitcoin to people will likely be a gradual process:
“It's just like how you get people interested in the banking industry in general. But people have had mistrust of banking. We go in and do education. We partner with organizations that are in the community. And if you live in a bad neighborhood, you're not walking around with cash anymore. It's in your electronic wallet.”
The Oakland community would benefit greatly with this new technology, Parker believes:
“What can we do with the power of crowdsourcing to augment what we have? What people are saying right now is, “I’m paying taxes and I don’t feel like I am getting a bang for the buck, so I have some level of mistrust.” So how do we earn that back? Why don’t we get it directly to the project?”
The mayoral candidate’s come at a time when
Bitcoin is looking to become more legitimized in the political arena. Just this
week the Federal Economic Commission (FEC) began deliberating
on a request to allow political campaigns to accept donations in bitcoins starting
in the 2014 midterm elections. The request, made by political action committee
Make Your Laws, includes the following terms:
- Contributions are limited to
- Donors must confirm they are donating their own bitcoins
- Contributors provide name, address, occupation and employers
Deliberation by the FEC began on April 23,
but the commission has asked for an extension until May 5. A FEC approval would
be a slam dunk for the Bitcoin community as it could greatly lower mistrust of
the digital currency among the general population.
Meanwhile, Parker confirmed he has received “relatively few” bitcoin donations, all of which have been immediately converted into cash.