Posted by: Ike West June 25, 2014
Bitcoin is becoming less of a social issue centering around the anonymous purchasing of questionable products and moving toward the political spectrum. In the United States the FEC (Federal Election Committee), aided by BitPay and CoinVox, has recently started allowing campaign and PAC ( or, Political Action Committee) donations to be made in Bitcoin, as long as they follow the same rules as donations made in foreign currency. Previously, some campaigns had allowed supporters to donate with Bitcoin and other Crypto Currencies. This movement has been lead largely by the Libertarian Party. The Libertarian party is distinguished by their desired limitations of the government. Under the Libertarian Party Government would take a back seat and let the people govern themselves with the exemption of a few responsibilities such a national defense. This ideology lends itself strongly to Bitcoin becauses it’is decentralized and personal. Presidential campaigns for 2016 are already starting up, and one candidate is taking an interesting take on campaign donations. If you will navigate to the campaign site for Darryl Perry, you are informed that “Campaign contributions are currently being accepted only in Bitcoin, Litecoin, gold, silver and copper” not something you see every day or have ever seen for that matter.
Presidential Candidate Darryl Perry sent an open letter to the FEC regarding this, as well as other somewhat unique declarations for his campaign. He is cutting all ties from the committee because, as a libertarian, he sees them as invalid and unnecessary. He also claims that their regulations and restrictions on campaign donations are unconstitutional under the freedom of speech. As such, he will not be reporting his donations or accepting any tender recognized by the committee. If you wish to read his open letter you can at http://darrylwperry.com/2013/05/07/open-letter-to-the-fec/. Recently I had the opportunity to interview Mr. Perry on his thoughts on the FEC, Bitcoin, and online privacy.
1) Why is your campaign only accepting Crypto Currency and Precious Metals?
I have long been a supporter of alternative currencies and do my best to use them as much as possible. Since the use of alternative currencies is something that I advocate, I decided to put that principle into practice, and run a campaign entirely on alternatives to the US Dollar.
2) Would you like to see Bitcoin and other Crypto Currency officially recognized in the united States, much like Germany
NO! I oppose legal tender laws, and have supported the repeal of these laws for years. The problem with government recognition of a thing as legal tender is that people no longer have a choice of whether or not to accept the thing. For example, before 1862 there were no requirements in the United States to accept any particular currency as payment over $5. Now, it is a federal offense for me to reject a US Dollar as a form of payment. Of course, many businesses indicate that they won’t accept a $50 or $100 bill, but they are almost never prosecuted for this even though it is in direct violation of the Legal Tender Laws. My fear, if Bitcoin, gold, silver or any other “alternative currency” were made legal tender, is that the value would then be manipulated by the federal government. I don’t want any government controlling currency, and support passage of the Free Competition in Currency Act.
3) What are you thoughts on the denationalization of money, is this something to strive for or something to protect against?
As stated above, I don’t want any government controlling money. I fully support separation of state and money!
4) What do you think should be the governments role in regards to the internet, Net Neutrality and online privacy should be?
I believe the government should take the same role in the internet that I believe they should take with everything: hands off! Most Americans have few choices when it comes to internet providers. This is largely due to government regulations that essentially give a handful of companies monopolies in certain areas. The problems caused by this can’t be fixed by more government intervention. On the topic of Net Neutrality, if there were actual competition in the market, then no internet provider would think it wise to create a tiered internet, because customers would simply go to another company that is offering better service at a better price.
Regarding online privacy, it is completely ludicrous to expect the federal government to help protect online privacy. This is the same entity that has been spying on millions of Americans, and recently “lost” 2 years of emails. People should be responsible enough to take steps to protect their privacy by using a VPN, incognito windows, TOR, encryption, etc.
5) Why do you feel that the FEC is not valid?
Among the authorities given to the federal government by the US Constitution, the authority to regulate elections is absent. As I discuss in my book Duopoly: How the Republicrats Control the Electoral Process, the first campaign finance laws were passed in 1907, and it wasn’t until 1971 that the FEC was created. The initial regulations, and subsequent regulations have had the effect of harming candidates who are not among the two protected parties. I oppose the FEC on principle because 1) there is no authority for the bureacracy to exist, and 2) because their regulations harm candidates, and voters!
6) If elected president, what action would you take against online market places such as the Silk Road?
NONE! I believe that Silk Road, and sites like it, have made the black-market a safer place and those sites should be lauded, not punished. Further, I believe that the entire drug war should end, and that every substance should be as legal as tomatoes. By that, I mean that there should be no government regulations on who may purchase, possess or consume a substance. To be clear, I’m not advocating that anyone smoke meth; I’m simply advocating that they shouldn’t go to jail for doing so. Also, note the words “government regulations”: I fully support the rights of business owners to say they will not sale a substance, a Homeowners Association to say that certain substances aren’t allowed in the neighborhood, etc. I also support industry regulations that would be run by third-parties to ensure only quality products are being sold.
7) If somebody wanted to assist in your campaign how should they go about doing it?
Currently, the best thing that people can do is to donate to the campaign. The Bitcoin and Litecoin addresses, as well as the mailing address are at darrylwperry.com/donate
The next best thing people can do is to spread the word about the campaign. This can be done via social media, as well as word of mouth. I will be seeking the Libertarian Party nomination, though on the chance that I am not the LP nominee, my campaign will not end after the convention. I will need help getting ballot access and/or write-in status on 51 different ballots. I will begin posting information towards the end of this year on how people can help with ballot access.
Bitcoin campaign donations pose an interesting legal predicament. Under US law, a candidate is not allowed to accept foreign donations, as to prevent foreign influence in our politics. Since the transference of Bitcoin is anonymous, it would become impossible to determine who was giving politicians contributions, thus allowing nearly unlimited spending potential on behalf of potentially foreign interests. Also, it would make it nearly impossible to put a cap on how much a single person could donate to a campaign, which is limited. If one wanted to, they could simply move $100 (the current limit for Bitcoin contributions) to several unrelated accounts and then send them in to the candidate.
The FEC ruling is a significant step for Crypto Currency in America. Perhaps this is one step closer to the United States accepting and recognizing Bitcoin as private and personal money, much like germany has already done. Acceptance in America would be a large step in the formation of a Denationalized Currency, but first there needs to be a real discussion on its effect on the large financial restrictions in the United States code of laws. Its quite possible that Bitcoin will never be officially recognized in the United States because of its inability to be regulated, while this may disappoint fans of the currency it is better than compromising the values the Bitcoin users hold so dear.