US politician Brian Forde published an article Monday criticizing the misinformation around cryptocurrency campaign donations, pointing to a number of areas where these contributions are far more transparent than they are portrayed as in the mainstream media.
Forde has a number of notable achievements in US politics, including serving as Senior Tech Adviser in the Obama administration where he was responsible for bringing the president up to date on Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency industry. During a recent run for Congress in California’s 45th district, he personally collected around USD 300,000 in cryptocurrency campaign contributions.
Addressing claims that campaign donations via digital currency meant that they could not be easily verified by the public, Forde said that all donations were subject to the same standards as fiat. This means any money received must be published with the donors’ full name and address, although publishing the wallet address he says goes against their financial privacy. Although some people have allegedly been calling for the publication of wallet addresses, bank account or credit card numbers where donations are made from are not published.
Forde added that the most anonymous form of payment that could be made would actually be in cash, while the easiest way to make an illegal donation would be with a ”prepaid debit card bought with cash at a convenience store — not cryptocurrencies”.
Because wallet providers in the US are subject to strict know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) policies, Forde argues that that Bitcoin is not a privacy coin, nor is it anonymous.
Unfair claims of crypto’s illicit uses
Another area that he found problematic in media coverage of crypto donations is its portrayal as an asset directly connected to illicit activities, while cash and credit card frauds are left out of the conversation. Pointing to a list from the UK government which asses the different forms of money laundering that has been taking place, he noted that Bitcoin came at the bottom of the list.
”On that basis, the means of payment should not be our litmus test to determine how candidates, or anyone, can or cannot receive money,” Forde writes.
Media coverage suggesting cryptocurrency has been used by foreign actors to influence the US election is misleading, he says. Rather than being used to make direct campaign donations, it has been, in some cases, been used to purchase internet domain names and pay for servers. Saying that the government does not ban foreign actors from using the internet or social media which can also influence the outcome of elections, Forde reasons that this means they should also not be stopped from using cryptocurrency in the ways it has been proven to be used.
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