If you’ve been into cryptocurrencies since, like, 2010, you probably got into it because you want options other than big banks and Big Brother. You probably figured you didn’t want that gentlemen’s club membership to show up on your credit card and it’s not the government’s business if you want to smoke the occasional joint, so you might as well check out this semi-anonymous fintech thingy called Bitcoin. Now if you follow crypto news like I’ve done lately, you occasionally hear about politicians accepting donations in Bitcoin. What’s up with that, right?
Actually, politicians accepting Bitcoin donations is not a bad thing. Those politicians have incentive to be friendly or at least neutral toward cryptocurrency. They are the least likely to push for regulating cryptocurrencies to the point where they have to go underground to even be able to function like a normal currency (which a truly anonymous cryptocurrency would be quite capable of doing). So, what does a pro-cryptocurrency politician look like? These two candidates for public office might set a fair precedent.
New York Attorney General Candidate Manny Alicandro
With the resignation of Eric Schneiderman amid a scandal involving accusations of abuse by four women, the election of a new New York Attorney General appears to be wide open. Republican candidate Manny Alicandro appears to be surprisingly friendly toward cryptocurrencies and ICOs, or at least give them a chance.
Alicandro has especially criticized the SEC for its “overly burdensome” approach to regulating ICOs that are “pushing regulation offshore”. Many foreign ICOs have to turn away American investors due to its strict and often outdated regulations. Others find it ridiculously easy to make Americans the victims of fraud because the operators of fraudulent ICOs can find a base in countries that are not particularly friendly toward the U.S. and unlikely to listen to the United States’ insistence that organizations that want to operate in the U.S. should follow U.S. regulation.
Alicandra has also said that the CFTC’s binary approach — commodity or security — is too narrow to really apply to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum that may have properties of both, but are actually neither. He has also indicated that New York’s BitLicense could be loosened to allow for business development and called Schneiderman’s probe into cryptocurrency exchanges “a witch-hunt.” Alicandra has praised the Winklevoss twins’ attempt to create a non-governmental regulatory body as a positive step in the right direction, indicating that he would be willing to give the cryptocurrency community a chance to regulate itself.
Presidential Candidate Adam Kokesh
Presidential candidate Adam Kokesh does not say much specifically about cryptocurrencies in his platform, though he touts cryptocurrencies’ power to effectively cut off the government by providing an alternative to fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar and his campaign accepts Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash donations.
Considering that he wants to effectively defang the executive branch of government by changing the presidents’ role to a simple caretaker, though, it’s assumed that the process he has in mind will effectively also gut the power of the most concerning regulatory agencies like the SEC and CFTC. If elected, he will only retain the authority to hire “Custodians” who can implement a plan an orderly transition of power to states and individuals and fire those who don’t stick to the plan.
Is a “cryptocurrency-friendly” candidate running for office in your region? If so, that’s where you want to toss the attitude that voting is a waste of time or that voting for anyone other than “the Democrat” or “the Republican” is a wasted vote, and make sure you go vote for that candidate even if you leave the rest of the ballot blank. The important thing to remember is that regulators will not want to give up their power unless they are forced to and you can’t even vote the regulators out of office if you don’t like what they’re doing, but you can vote for people who would effectively be their bosses and use cryptocurrencies in your daily life whenever possible to reduce the hold that governments and their fiat currencies have on your finances.
That means voting for people like Eric Schneiderman and Adam Kokesh when you can. The current geopolitical environment is not going to go away easily even with the existence of new governance options like Bitnation, but the transition to a crypto-friendly legal and regulatory environment will be made easier if crypto-friendly world leaders can be elected to public office.