The Conversation

FEC Ruling Allows Bitcoin Donations

In a move believed to lend more credibility to "controversial online currency" Bitcoin, the Federal Election Commission has unanimously ruled that political committees involved in federal elections can accept contributions in bitcoins as long as donors are identified.

However, the ruling also leaves some questions unanswered. It does not indicate the maximum amount of any bitcoin contribution, or if they can be used by committees to make purchases.

The limited ruling aimed to “give some guidance to the community … that is not going to raise some of the bigger issues that might accompany a bitcoin transaction,” said Ann Ravel, a Democrat who is the commission's vice chairwoman.

The FEC did rule that a $100 contribution limit per person per electoral cycle "was acceptable, but it did not explicitly rule out larger donations."

The six-member commission deadlocked on whether to allow the committees to spend donated bitcoins rather than requiring them to first exchange the currency for dollars. 

The FEC also allowed political action committees to invest in the highly volatile bitcoin market.


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