Tech firm looks to bring bitcoins to campaigns

A new tech company wants to make it easier for politicians and political candidates to accept bitcoins for their campaigns.

CoinVox has already had discussions with about a half-dozen lawmakers and groups, according to chief executive Chris David, and is looking to steadily ramp up ahead of the midterm elections in November.

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The plan is to help support candidates with favorable stances on the crypto-currency and convince more to follow along.

“We want to make it easy for them to be able to receive support from the bitcoin community in the way of donations and also in the ways of volunteer support or any other kind of favorable press that will come with siding with this issue,” David told The Hill. 

“We think that hooking up candidates to receive contributions in bitcoin is going to ... lead to those same candidates and incumbents taking favorable legislative policy stances on bitcoin, which is our goal.”

The company is formally launching in San Francisco on Thursday and plans to make its debut in Washington next week at a conference on the virtual currency. 

Candidates who bring CoinVox on board will be able to ensure that people donating with bitcoins are fully compliant with the Federal Election Commission, which last month ruled that campaigns could accept the money as a contribution.

Bitcoins can be spent relatively anonymously, which raised initial concerns at the FEC that people could be making unlimited contributions. In May, however, the commission unanimously approved a request to allow up to $100 worth of the money, which is the maximum limit for cash contributions, as long as contributors provided their names, addresses and other information.

Hours after the announcement, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who has been the currency’s most vocal supporter in Congress, started accepting bitcoins for his reelection bid.

David said that example should inspire others to follow suit. 

“It’s very clear in looking at Polis’s fundraising after that, people recognize that the young, upward, tech-friendly people are where the future is going to be,” he said. “Bitcoin can be a way for them to come onboard with that.”