The United States are now on the verge of undergoing midterm elections. Why is this important? Well, four years ago the United States authorities decided that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin would be allowed to be used within political donations. Since then, as a result of this, some politicians in the US have raised very significant amounts of money through political campaigns in cryptocurrency. Bitcoin now has a significant position within the US voting-sphere. According to Politico.com:
“Democrat Brian Forde raised nearly half a million dollars of bitcoin for his unsuccessful bid for a California congressional seat this year, but then had to field questions from election watchdogs about a contribution from Hong Kong.”Moreover:
“Republican Austin Petersen, a U.S. Senate candidate from Missouri, received the largest single bitcoin donation in federal election history, but was forced to return the virtual currency in June because it exceeded federal contribution limits. Libertarian Phil Anderson, who's running for governor in Wisconsin, decided to continue accepting crypto contributions even though Wisconsin, like most states, has not decided how to regulate or track crypto contributions.”Despite the risky connotations that Bitcoin brings to the table in politics, it is clear that politicians in the United States are still happy to deal in crypto. As a result of this, people are now starting to question the power Bitcoin has in these elections and thus, are accusing Bitcoin of meddling. What is happening here? A lot of the time, this is just a case of disgruntled politicians blaming Bitcoin for something that hasn’t happened. It’s easy to blame Bitcoin when political decisions go one way instead of the other, much in the same way politicians seem to blame everything else but themselves. Bitcoin is a scapegoat in this situation and nothing more. However, this hasn’t stopped people from talking about the potential Bitcoin has to manipulate politics on an elective level. As a result of this, researchers are now taking to hard evidence to prove that Bitcoin is not in fact corrupt and is not as damaging as politics seems to make out. According to Politico.com:
“A study published in January by the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance, a program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Elliptic, a cryptocurrency analyst, found less than 1 percent of all transactions entering conversion services worldwide were linked to illicit activities, including money laundering and online extortion. And experts at the forefront of this financial technology argue that bitcoin could actually bring more transparency to the democratic process by offering new, unhackable tools to track money in politics.”Bitcoin can actually fix political corruption We aren’t a politics website, so we won’t get into political corruption too much, however what we can discuss is how Bitcoin, and the blockchain can go a long way in actually improving the transparency of political processes, including elections. Enhancing transparency can mean only one thing - improvements to democracy, a long way off the ‘corrupt’ reputation that Bitcoin presently has. The blockchain can not only speed up and automate the voting process, it can also verify and authenticate it, making elections fairer, faster and more concise. Less room for error, less room for corruption. What are politicians doing about this? In terms of Bitcoin spending, one of the problems is that each politician seems to handle their Bitcoin donations very differently. The problem here isn’t Bitcoin, the problem is a lack of regulation that stipulates how that Bitcoin should be spent. According to Politico.com:
“New Hampshire Republican state Rep. Mark Warden decided to return crypto contributions that came from Europe and South Africa, according to The Washington Post. Republican Andrew Hemingway made headlines in 2014 when he became the first-ever gubernatorial contender to use cryptocurrency contributions in his campaign.”Furthermore:
“The website of state Rep. Caleb Dyer, a Libertarian and former Republican running for re-election, can accept 10 different types of cryptocurrencies including Monero, a ‘privacy coin’ marketed as untraceable and anonymous. Dyer has said that he received $269.62 in donations, but he has not filed campaign reports to document any contributions including when he first ran for office in 2016, according to state officials.”As you can see, some politicians are declaring it, some aren’t, and others are even taking steps to send it back. Nobody knows what to do with Bitcoin in politics, and it’s damaging our industries reputation. What do we think about this? From a crypto-centric perspective, Bitcoin is not being used to manipulate US elections, or any other elections for that matter. Bitcoin is no more useful than FIAT currency when it comes to blackmail and bribery. Yes, people can send Bitcoin anonymously to politicians but people can still send cash anonymously too. What people need to remember here is that FIAT currency has just as much power in this instance, if not more power. Therefore, the enemy is not Bitcoin, the enemy is how the establishment is handling it. The solution The solution is simple and it’s one that many of us are hoping for. Cryptocurrency regulation that allows fair use of Bitcoin and other tokens. With the right regulations in place, Bitcoin can help politics flourish. Moreover, with the right regulations in place and with the right people given the right education, blockchain technology promises to totally transform the way we vote, changing the face of democracy and in turn, removing every last hint of corruption, cleaning the system up, making it fairer for everyone.