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Federal Elections Commission votes to allow Bitcoin donations

Bitcoin contributions capped at $100, treated like stocks and bonds.
By JC Sevcik Follow @JCSevcik Contact the Author   |   May 8, 2014 at 6:34 PM
WASHINGTON, May 8 (UPI) -- The Federal Elections Commission voted unanimously Thursday to allow political committees to accept donations made with Bitcoin.

In response to a request from a political action committee, the commissioners approved and outlined regulations for the practice of accepting the virtual currency.

According to the New York Times, "donations will be capped at the cash equivalent of $100 per person per cycle, with the value determined at the time of the donation, and that a complete accounting of name, address and employer must accompany the donation."

Committees can liquidate a contribution immediately or treat it as in investment, like stocks or bonds, since the value of the currency can fluctuate.

Committees can buy Bitcoins on the open market, but are prohibited from using the to pay for goods or services — they must instead be liquidated into U.S. currency before being spent.

The ruling acknowledges the growing popularity of the digital currency and is likely an attempt to prevent the difficult-to-trace method from being used as a means to funnel illegal or foreign funds into campaign finance.

The ruling does not specifically permit or prohibit super-PACs from making unlimited Bitcoin contributions. As the New York Times points out, the rules around virtual currency in campaign finance are expected to continue to develop.

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