Rand Paul accepting bitcoins for 2016 bid

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Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) new presidential campaign is accepting bitcoin donations on his website. 

The Kentucky Republican’s announcement Tuesday that he is running for president made him the second major candidate, along with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), to officially announce a run for the White House in 2016. 

{mosads}Paul, who has aimed to court Silicon Valley and a younger constituency, allows supporters to donate by credit card, PayPal or bitcoin, the virtual currency. 

Cruz’s website has tabs to accept donations via credit card or check. 

Paul isn’t the first candidate to accept the currency, as a number of candidates running for Congress did so in the 2014 election season.  

In May, the Federal Elections Commission approved an advisory opinion that found campaigns could accept bitcoin donations subject to valuation and reporting procedures.

Bitcoin advocates say the currency, which exists online, has the potential to become the next secure form of payment, which can be traded online or used to pay for other goods and services. A number of businesses already accept the currency. 

Critics have worried, however, that the anonymous nature of the currency could be exploited by criminals. They have also warned of the sometimes large fluctuations in the currency’s value and the collapse of major bitcoin trading companies in the past.  

In the past, Paul has expressed excitement about the possibility that virtual currency could potentially be a substitution for credit cards. If a number of big box retailers, like Wal-Mart, could put their stock behind it, Paul said he would be interested in investing. In that case, he said, the currency could do to credit cards what Netflix did to Blockbuster. 

He has also expressed skepticism, saying online currency needs to have real value.

Tags Bitcoin campaign donations presidential campaign Rand Paul

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