Cryptocurrency industry insiders donated $7.3 million to political campaigns and committees in 2021 through the end of January, but almost all of that money came in dollars — cash, checks and credit cards — rather than in bitcoin or one of the other token types, Bloomberg reported Thursday (March 17).
Federal Election Commission records show $580,000 in crypto donations to political committees during the current election cycle, which runs through the midterm elections in November. A handful of super PAC donations comprised the lion’s share of that total, the report said.
Some of the political committees that took in digital contributions didn’t follow FEC guidance in reporting them, the report said, while groups that study money in politics don’t track them, making it hard to know exactly how much cryptocurrency is on the campaign trail these days.
“Donations made with cryptocurrency are very difficult to identify in campaign finance data,” said Sarah Bryner, director of research and strategy at OpenSecrets, which studies money in politics, in the report.
Cryptocurrency donations have been allowed in politics since 2014, but FEC’s reporting guidelines require that campaigns and committees convert the digital assets to dollars before spending the money, which triggers a processing fee, on top of the extra record-keeping and disclosure required.
ActBlue and WinRed, online platforms that serve Democrats and Republicans, respectively, don’t accept crypto donations at all, the report says.
Last week, President Joe Biden signed an executive order aimed at establishing a governmentwide policy on cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.
The executive order has six areas of focus, the White House said: consumer and investor protection; protecting financial stability; preventing illicit finance; advancing U.S. leadership in the global financial system and economic competitiveness; promoting financial inclusion; and encouraging responsible innovation.
The executive order also made “placing urgency” on the research and development necessary to create a central bank digital currency (CBDC) a high priority.