US County Treasurer Accepts Cryptocurrencies for Campaign Donations
Holly Kim received a grant of $3 in litecoin, and it is expected to continue.
Marching toward the mainstream, cryptocurrency has already entered online retailers, software makers, and coffee shops. However, the most recent field where cryptocurrency started operating has been campaign donations!
Holly Kim, Lake County Treasurer, is a Democrat who is campaigning for reelection. When one of her supporters donated $3 in litecoin and promised to add more in the future, she became the first political candidate in Illinois who accepts cryptocurrency.
This new fundraising technique seems to be a potentially lucrative one. Dogecoin, another cryptocurrency that Kim accepts, has experienced a 100-fold value increase over the past year. In addition, Kim states that it is a way to reach tech-savvy people who might be distant from the idea of political donations.
Crypto donations have been allowed by the Federal Election Commission since 2014. However, not many politicians have benefited from this advantage so far. One of the few notable exceptions is the entrepreneur Andrew Yang, the Democratic presidential candidate.
Even though a burgeoning cryptocurrency scene exists in Illinois, candidates from this state were not very eager to enter this scene. The spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Elections, Matt Dietrich, stated that no one until Kim had received a crypto donation:
“Before this, it has come up [in speculative scenarios], but not in any serious way in terms of someone calling and saying, ‘I’m going to be taking funds,’” he said. “This is the first actual solid case where we know the candidate intends to report cryptocurrency as a campaign contribution.”
40-year-old candidate Holly Kim’s interest in cryptocurrencies is not new. She says that, as a trustee in Mundelein, she tried to persuade her colleagues to collaborate with a payment processor to accept residents’ payments via bitcoin or PayPal in addition to MasterCard and visa. However, the board declined the proposal.
“At that point, I accepted it might be too future-minded,” she stated.
However, in recent months, she has seen the potential again: The number of businesses that accept cryptocurrency grows each day around the country. So, by consulting with the election board, she built a website with an option for donations in cryptocurrency.
The first cryptocurrency donation was made by Lake Forest-based investment management firm T Capital Coin, Mark Tan. As Tan said, it was a minimal contribution to check whether the donation system works appropriately. He also stated that the political campaigns that accept digital currency are advantageous in terms of finding a new profile of donors:
“I believe you’ll probably find crypto enthusiasts will support the candidacies of government officials who see the potential of blockchain technology as something that’s moving forward. [Those donors] are more supportive and open-minded.”
How do you interpret the changing scene of political campaign donations? Share your opinions in the comments section!