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Some Politicians Already Accepting Bitcoins

(The Verge) The Federal Election Commission is deliberating whether political contributions may be made in Bitcoin, and if so, how. The commission has until Oct. 28 to determine whether donations in the emerging virtual currency comply with campaign finance restrictions, in response to a request filed last week by the Conservative Action Fund PAC.

Some politicians are already accepting donations in Bitcoin — it’s especially popular with Libertarians — and Bitcoin proponents say it will be widely used during the 2014 election cycle. Campaign finance regulations have been updated to reflect advances in technology and accommodate electronic payments, but Bitcoin presents unique problems due to its fluctuating value, ambiguous legal status and unprecedented format.

Current law says contributions exceeding $100 must be made by check, money order or “other written instrument.” This now covers PayPal, credit cards and donations by SMS, so it’s not crazy to think that it could apply to Bitcoin. However, donations are required to be in U.S. dollars, which could be grounds to reject Bitcoin. The commission may also sanction Bitcoin is an “in-kind donation” like office supplies or furniture.