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Bitcoin Accepted for Political Contributions

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COMMENT: If you thought that campaign finance had become a sticky wicket in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, you might be bitterly amused by the latest development in the lubrication of the wheels of democracy.

The Federal Election Commission has given the nod to accepting Bitcoins as campaign contributions.

(We have done four programs to date on Bitcoin: FTR #’s 760, 764, 770, 785.)

The available evidence suggests that Bitcoin is probably an Underground Reich “op” with roots in the cyber-fascistic libertarian milieu.

Fans of Citizens United and McCutcheon will be thrilled to know that the top tenth of one percent of Bitcoin owners control 50% of the total of the currency in existence.

Long live the Republic!

“Politics Jumps on Bitcoin Wagon” by Fredreka Schouten; USA Today; 5/9-11/2014.

EXCERPT: The Federal Election Commission (FEC) unanimously approved its use as a political donation Thursday. Commissioners imposed several conditions. Among them: No anonymous bitcoin contributions will be allowed, and campaign treasurers must scrutinize the donations for “evidence of illegality.”

Jim Harper of the industry’s Bitcoin Foundation, said the FEC’s move lends further legitimacy to thecurrency. “It’s another part of the growing body of regulation that establishes bitcoin as a co-equal part of the financial services system,” he said.

Rep. Jared Polis, a liberal Democrat from Colorado, immediately announced his campaign would begin accepting the digital money. He praised the FEC for its “forward-looking stance” to recognize “the rights of individuals seeking alternatives to government-backed currencies to participate in our democratic political process.”

It’s not clear how quickly the currency will spread through the election landscape. Officials with the committee working to elect House Democrats said they had no immediate plans to accept bitcoins.

Even without the formal approval of regulators, the Libertarian Party began accepting Bitcoin about a year ago and has collected the equivalent of about $10,000, Executive Director Wes Benedict said.


3 comments for “Bitcoin Accepted for Political Contributions”

  1. http://dish.client.shareholder.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=851093

    May 29, 2014
    DISH to Accept Bitcoin

    Bitcoin acceptance begins Q3 for pay-TV subscription service
    Largest company to-date and first pay-TV provider to accept “cryptocurrency”
    Coinbase selected as payment processor
    ENGLEWOOD, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– DISH today announced that it will become the largest company to accept bitcoin. As the first subscription model pay-TV provider to make this move, DISH will begin accepting bitcoin payments from customers starting in the third quarter. DISH Network L.L.C. is a wholly owned subsidiary of DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH).

    “We always want to deliver choice and convenience for our customers and that includes the method they use to pay their bills,” said Bernie Han, DISH executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Bitcoin is becoming a preferred way for some people to transact and we want to accommodate those individuals.”

    DISH has selected Coinbase as the payment processor for bitcoin transactions with customers who choose to pay their bill online with the bitcoin wallet of their choice. DISH will use Coinbase’s Instant Exchange™ feature to exchange bitcoin payments to U.S. dollars at the moment of the transaction.

    “We’re excited to support DISH and their current and new subscribers for their bitcoin transactions,” said Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam. “This is a large step forward in the growing momentum of customers paying companies in bitcoin for things we do every day, like watching premium TV.”

    “As a bitcoin payment processor, Coinbase will help DISH make the payment experience easy for our customers and make it easy for DISH to receive immediate credit in dollars, at an attractive cost for DISH,” added Han.

    The bitcoin payment option will be available for DISH customers choosing to make one-time payments on mydish.com starting in the third quarter. Customers will still have the option to make any payment online via credit card, debit card or bank account.

    About DISH

    DISH Network Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH), through its subsidiaries, provides approximately 14.097 million pay-TV subscribers, as of March 31, 2014, with the highest quality programming and technology with the most choices at the best value. Subscribers enjoy a high definition line-up with more than 200 national HD channels, the most international channels, and award-winning HD and DVR technology. DISH Network Corporation is a Fortune 200 company. Visit http://www.dish.com.

    About Coinbase

    Coinbase is a bitcoin consumer wallet and merchant payment processing platform that, founded in June 2012, now powers 1.3 million consumer wallets and supports 31,000 merchants. Funded with $31 million from top venture investors, Coinbase strives to make it easy to buy and sell bitcoin, securely store bitcoin in the cloud, and accept bitcoin as payment and receive funds in U.S. dollars. Learn more at http://www.coinbase.com

    Posted by GK | June 1, 2014, 11:28 am
  2. This is interesting: It’s currently technically illegal to develop alternative currencies, including cryptocurrencies, in California so all the Bitcoin and other altcoin developers are breaking the law. But that’s about to change:

    Pando Daily
    California gets hip to bitcoin: Senate banking committee approves bill to legalize crypto-currencies

    Michael Carney_PandoDaily By Michael Carney
    On June 5, 2014

    The state of California appears poised to become a lot more welcoming to bitcoin. A bill to officially legalize cryptocurrencies and other alternative forms of money, recently passed the California Assembly by a unanimous 75 to 0 vote and yesterday was approved by the state Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee by a 7 to 1 vote. The next step for the bill dubbed AB-129 Lawful Money is a full vote on the senate floor and then, possibly, a date with Governor Jerry Brown.

    Currently, the California Corporations Code Section 107 states that “No corporation, flexible purpose corporation, association or individual shall issue or put in circulation, as money, anything but the lawful money of the United States.

    As written, bitcoin would be deemed illegal money, and thus the bitcoin developers and custodians of the bitcoin protocol could be deemed in violation of the law. The same is true of the dozens of other altcoins that have sprung up in bitcoin’s wake, as well as other mediums of exchange like cupons, gift cards, and loyalty points. AB-129, if passed into law, would override the language of Section 107, making the development, distribution, and use of cryptocurrencies legal in California.

    California is already home to dozens of bitcoin startups and investors, none of which have been prosecuted for violating the California Corporations Code – playing fast and loose with Money Transmitter regulations, however, has caught the attention of law enforcement. Given the lack of enforcement, and the overwhelming momentum of bitcoin and other digital currencies, this regulatory change is merely a formality.

    Most startups likely were unaware that California law outlawed bitcoin. But large companies – think Apple, Google, Facebook, eBay, and PayPal – surely were aware of the statute. One has to wonder if this law had any impact on their collective hesitancy to embrace crypto-currencies.

    You have to wonder what this new law will mean for the development of non-crypto alternative currencies (and the art of money-laundering).

    In related news…

    Pando Daily
    Crypto-currencies go mainstream with new Facebook tipping apps

    By Michael Carney
    On June 6, 2014

    Crypto-currency tipping may be about to go mainstream. This as developer Alejandro Caballero posted to the r/Dogecoin subreddit late last night that Facebook has approved a pair of dogecoin and multicoin tipping apps (inspiringly named The Doge Tipping App and Multicoin Tipping App). The developer called it a “double hit!”

    The latter app will support 14 altcoins, including Dogecoin. Caballero explains the decision to incorporate more than a dozen less mainstream coins as “the most pure spirit of shibing,” in a nod to the Shiba Inu dog which has become the unofficial mascot of Dogecoin.

    Caballero writes:

    Some days ago we got The Doge Tipping App being the first of its kind. Some adjustments where [sic] made during the review, but it was already approved.

    When we submitted the Doge-only app, the Multicoin Tipping App was also submitted. But we needed to change several things to have it finally approved, which happened a few minutes ago.

    It’s unclear what exactly the change entailed, but it’s a fair bet they had something to do with user privacy and security.

    Tipping, and micro-payments in general, are among the more interesting and unique applications of crypto-currencies. By virtue of existing outside the traditional banking system, bitcoin and its brethren are able to avoid the vast majority of payment fees levied by legacy financial institutions. Whereas a $0.25 cent credit card payment may cost the recipient $0.35 cents in fees, and thus be uneconomical, when sent with crypto-currencies, those fees shrink to almost zero.

    With these new economics, a whole new world of applications becomes possible. For example, the Chicago Sun Times became the first major publisher to test a micro-payments paywall, partnering with BitWall for the service. Rather than paying several dollars per month to subscribe to the newspaper, readers could for the first time pay a few pennies to read a single article of interest.

    Dogecoin has grown almost entirely through tipping pennies or fractions of a penny online to reward users for posting insightful or funny comments, sharing valuable information, or otherwise contributing to the community. In the past, Dogecoin tipping has been largely confined to Reddit and other crypto-currency forums. Caballero’s apps could change this by bringing the practice to Facebook’s more than 1 billion global users.

    The most interesting aspect of this news is that it potentially offers a practical, utility-based entry point for everyday consumers to begin using crypto-currencies. Many users will likely receive their first coins through tips, rather than proactively going out and buying them. But through either curiosity or pay-it-forward thinking, it’s likely that these coins will be put back into circulation through future tipping. It’s not hard to imagine how this phenomenon blossoms. A similar motivation underlies the MIT Bitcoin Project, which gifted $100 in bitcoin to every undergraduate student in an effort to seed the community, spread awareness, and drive usage.

    The Dogecoin and Multicoin tipping apps apps aren’t the first to bring crypto-currency payments to Facebook, but they are the first to focus solely on tipping. Last month, QuickCoin released its own Facebook wallet app allowing users to send digital currency to among friends on the social network.

    Of course the major limitation of these apps is that they don’t support bitcoin, which is by far the largest and most ubiquitous of all crypto-currencies. Tipping hasn’t really caught on among bitcoin users to the degree it has within many altcoin communities. But a simple, mainstream application could go a long way toward changing that. Bitcointip and other applications already allow tipping within Reddit, but Facebook is obviously the 800,000 pound gorilla of online communities.

    Going forward, Caballero and his team plan to extend these apps beyond Facebook to create similar plugins across other online networks including WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Xenforo, PHPBB, and others. The broader vision is to create a universal tipping platform that would function across the Web.

    For crypto-currencies to jump the divide between geeky underground technology and mainstream financial instrument, there needs to be greater awareness, easier access, and more utility based applications. At least in concept, Facebook tipping apps would seem to check all three boxes. In other words: this could be big.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 8, 2014, 4:20 pm
  3. http://www.thestreet.com/story/12732907/1/bitcoin-reels-in-dish-network-ebay-with-more-big-fish-to-follow.html?puc=yahoo&cm_ven=YAHOONEW YORK

    “(TheStreet) — While the rest of the world may be wary of bitcoin, Dish Network (DISH_) and eBay (EBAY_) have already embraced it.

    A couple of days ago, eBay chief John Donahoe championed bitcoin on CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box’. The CEO sees bitcoin playing an integral role in the future of online payments. As you know, eBay owns Paypal.”

    “Bitcoin: Coming Soon to an iPhone Near You

    Apple (AAPL) has paved the way for digital currencies to be transacted on iPhones and iPads.”

    Posted by GK | June 15, 2014, 11:38 am

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