The Next Election May Be Funded By Bitcoin

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Bitcoin is the currency of the future, or at least that's what crypt-anarchists and futurist would have you believe. On the other hand, the government seems like it doesn't know what to do with the digital currency. Well, at least most of the government that is.

The Hill reports that the Federal Election Commission has proposed that election campaigns be allowed to accept bitcoin donations. The proposal was made after the Commission received a request to use bitcoins in elections from the Conservative Action Fund.

While this is great news for bitcoin proponents, the FEC does have one caveat for the currency's usage. Under its proposal, campaigns will be able to accept bitcoin donations, but they won't be able to spend them. Instead, campaigns will have to sell the bitcoins and then deposit the money into their accounts. Since bitcoin transactions are anonymous, you can see why the Commission would want to prevent campaigns from being able to use the currency.

While the decision is sure to receive some criticism from those opposed to the untraceable currency, other lawmakers see it as a first step towards the government embracing new currencies. Sen. Tom Carper said that he "applaud[s] the FEC for acting quickly to recognize [bitcoin] and develop a thoughtful policy that gives donors and committees rules of the road to utilize this emerging technology."

The next major election, set to take place in 2014, is likely to be the first time that bitcoins will be used extensively in elections. It remains to be seen what impact the digital currency will have on campaign finances, but it will prove interesting. After all, donors could send bitcoin donations to campaigns anonymously, especially with the emergence of technologies like Dark Wallet. While we'll know how much the campaign received thanks to FEC rules, we won't know who sent the money. That alone is likely to ruffle the feathers of those seeking campaign finance reform even more.

[Image: weusecoins/YouTube]

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