Texas Gov. Candidate to Accept Contributions in BTC

Are political campaign contributions in Bitcoin just around the corner? Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, certainly holds this view as he announced on Thursday that his campaign will accept contributions in Bitcoins in his gubernatorial race scheduled for November 4, 2014 against Democrat Wendy Davis. 

In a story published in a local Texas online newspaper, the Lubbock Avalanche Journal (lubbockonline.com), Abbott stated: 

“I am excited to see our campaign add another tool to our cutting digital outreach, which is allowing us to reach more Texans than any previous campaign in the state.” 

The state of Texas has always promoted itself as a bastion of the free market with the capitalistic spirit of entrepreneurship and a greater sense of independence compared to other states. Therefore, some might see that the Lone Star state would be a perfect fit for a decentralized currency such as Bitcoin. 

“The spirit of Bitcoin embodies the free market principles that make Texas a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship. We welcome the Bitcoin community to join our team,” announced Abbott. 

Will others follow? 

Still, a politician getting on the Bitcoin-bandwagon is nothing new. The coin telegraph reported on other representatives such as ex-congressman Steve Stockman - yet another republican from the state of Texas - who has been one of the most vocal supporters of Bitcoin in Washington. 

While the publicity he gained from supporting Bitcoin did not help him overcome U.S. Sen. John Cornyn in the March 4 Republican primary, he certainly helped to start the dialogue on virtual currencies in Washington D.C., which led greater exposure, further publicity and support from other fellow representatives such as congressman Jared Polis (D-Colorado), who recently hosted a demonstration of a Bitcoin ATM on Capitol Hill. 

It remains to be seen if other Texans will embrace the digital currency movement. However, some other candidates have not been as eager as Abbott. For instance, Rep. Four Price recently stated: “We are not ready for Bitcoin,” Price, R-Amarillo, said. “Our campaign will continue to accept the usual contributions, like cash or checks but that’s it.” 

Another representative of Lubbok, John Frullo, said he is also not interested in contributions with Bitcoin : “I’ll stick to the old American dollar, it’s how the reporting system (to the Texas Ethics Commission) is set up,” asserted Frullo. 

Contribution reporting 

Indeed, contribution reporting could prove to be a major hurdle to the emergence of Bitcoin as a means of funding politician campaigns. Abbott’s campaign has acknowledged this potential issue citing the IRS’ recent position as Bitcoin not being a currency and, therefore, contributions to Texans for Greg Abbott in Bitcoin will be considered as an “in-kind contribution to the campaign.” Ironically, the government’s stance on Bitcoin not being property might allow Bitcoin contribution to go under the radar and, thus, decreasing transparency due to a lack of reporting. 

Finally, on a lighter note, I have a question for the Lone Star Project, a Democratic leaning organization, which made me chuckle in their statement warning against the usage of virtual currencies for political campaigns due to their association with crime, illegal drug-dealing etc. 

“The former CEO of Bitcoin was even arrested for selling Bitcoins to online narcotic traffickers.” 

When did Ross William Ulbricht get appointed CEO of a decentralized cryptocurrency? 

Expert commentary 

Daniel Krawisz: It's a step in the right direction, but he should accept bitcoin AND stop being a politician.

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