Crypto for President? Democratic Presidential hopeful Andrew Yang’s has announced on Twitter that his campaign will accept crypto donations for his Democratic Party campaign in 2020. This gives virtual currency the chance to again be involved in the presidential race. Hopefully this time it will just be in campaign donations, and not in being used for election tampering as it was in 2016, a saga which has led to charges being lodged against 13 Russians.
HUGE news – my campaign can now accept Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies! https://t.co/GScyqfZXLY Let’s build the future together. @Steven_McKie @JulianSarokin @yidagao @AdamDraper @mashadrokova @albertwenger @novogratz @ericbahn @RamanFrey @richardtitus
— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYangVFA) July 24, 2018
Yang received a mixed response to his tweet. Some replies attacked Yang himself, the virtual currency and its users on perceived criminal links, and others criticised crypto mining energy consumption and impact on the environment. But there were also those who suggested this move had won the new-York based Venture for America entrepreneurial fellowship founder their vote. At least one asked whether this indicated he would support mainstreaming of cryptocurrency should he become the President.
Virtual Currency Donations Can’t Go Over the Top
Yang is not the first presidential candidate to endorse donations in cryptocurrency to fund their run for the White House. He follows Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who accepted them during his 2016 presidential campaign.
Republican Andrew Hemingway started the trend when he stood as a candidate for Governor of New Hampshire at the age of 32, in 2014. Other politicians standing for the Senate and House of Representatives have also gone the crypto donation route.
Earlier this year Republican Senate candidate Austin Petersen was doing well in that he received 24 donations in crypto coin, and amassed the biggest contribution in crypto so far. But then his campaign hit a problem. It had to reject donations because of their size. He claimed two were for around $250 000 and one for $130 000, all way above the limit set by federal regulations.
T&Cs Applied to Crypto Donations
While announcing its readiness to accept Bitcoin and “anything on the ERC20 standard”, Yang’s campaign has made sure to draw up a strict list of conditions on who can make crypto donations, as well as how, and how much. These T&C’s limit would-be donors to $2,500, and bar both anonymous donations and any from under-18s. Voter qualifications will also have to be supplied before the campaign’s wallet address will be revealed to the donor in a private email.
The Federal Election Commission opened the door to virtual currencies entering the political arena back in 2014 when it voted in favour of allowing political action committees to both receive donations (in $100 increments) and also purchase cryptocurrency in funding elections. But the FEC added the proviso that these virtual coins would have to be converted into dollars before they could be deposited into a campaign account. The current limit for crypto donations is $5 400.