Politicians Accepting Bitcoins with the Help of Paystand JULY 24, 2014
BY IAN KAR
Well, this should provide a boost for Bitcoin gaining government acceptance: Some politicians are now accepting the cryptocurrency for campaign donations.
Payment processing startup Paystand is helping political office seekers to accept contributions in bitcoin, starting with Republican gubernatorial candidate Andrew Hemingway of New Hampshire. A look at Hemingway’s donations page is below.
The company is also working with “a dozen” New Hampshire candidates so that they too can accept bitcoin contributions. This comes after a May FEC ruling allowing cryptocurrenices to be used for political contributions.
There are a number of advantages to using bitcoin instead of traditional methods of payments, Paystand CEO Jeremy Almond told Bank Innovation. First, there’s not really a digital version of cash payments — something with no chargeback, and no added fees. Bitcoin offers the nearest thing to cash in the digital world, Almond said. Bitcoin can also provide a payment network where 100% of contributions goes to the campaign, rather than 97% or 95%.
Hemingway called himself “the first millennial to run for governor in the country,” in a profile by RealClearPolitics, and is a member of the Tea Party. Almond said that Hemingway approached Paystand, adding “I think Andrew’s team is really wanting to be ahead of the curve. When we originally started, we were focused on retailers, but one of the things we found was that… nonprofits were interested, because bitcoin philosophically meshed with their principles. Those same guys have looked at a bitcoin from a campaign fundraising aspect as well.”
Almond says that candidates in other states are working to accept bitcoin as a way to accept political contributions too.
New Hampshire may be at the leading edge when it comes to adopting bitcoins, but there are conversations in other states as well, such as Texas and Nevada.
Look for bitcoin donations to political campaigns to become typical, just as social media is now an expected part of political campaigns.