This week, the Chamber of Digital Commerce PAC sent all 535 members of the United States Congress about 0.0047 BTC ($50 worth at the time), in an effort to educate the countryâs legislators around cryptocurrency and blockchain technology that it calls Crypto For Congress.
Leveraging Federal Election Commission rules that allow for cryptocurrency-based campaign contributions and its own Political Action Committee to make the BTC donations, the Chamber of Digital Commerce ultimately hopes to motivate these lawmakers to embrace the advantages presented by blockchain technology.
âOur industry faces a number of regulatory challenges and itâs important for our government officials to have a working knowledge of how this technology works,â Perianne Boring, founder and president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce, told Bitcoin Magazine. âIf you look at tax laws, securities laws, if you look at compliance obligations, there are a lot of examples of regulators and policymakers who have tried to take this new asset class and shoehorn it into existing regulatory requirementsâ¦ The more that people are informed and have a working knowledge of how this technology works, I think weâll have a marketplace and regulatory environment that will promote innovation of blockchain technology in the U.S.â
Boring would not elaborate on how, technically, a Congressperson can accept their BTC donation, though she did say that the chamber is providing a comprehensive toolkit and instructions to walk them through it. She said that they can choose to accept the bitcoin as a one-time donation or enable their campaigns to accept ongoing cryptocurrency donations, they can choose to divert the donation to charity or they can outright refuse the donation.
American Made Bitcoin
There is a certain âAmerican Madeâ angle to these donations as well. The BTC sent as part of the initiative came from a block mined by Core Scientific, which pointed hash rate from its mining facilities in Georgia, Kentucky and North Carolina toward Luxor Technology mining pool software servers in Iowa. This simultaneously ensured that the bitcoin could not be traced to any unsavory activity, and showcased U.S.-based mining infrastructure.
âThereâs obviously some concerns with giving them bitcoin from an exchange, unfortunately â¦ thereâs a risk that thereâs some transaction history thatâs potentially a bit sketchy for Congress,â Ethan Vera, the co-founder of Luxor Technologies, told Bitcoin Magazine. âWe did give them clean coins, mined from Core Scientificâs facility in Kentucky, kind of âMade In Americaâ bitcoin for that reasonâ¦ In an era where 98 percent of blocks are found by Chinese mining pools, itâs exciting to push back a bit and get some geographic distribution of where the blocks are actually being found.â
(Though there is nothing inherently centralized about Bitcoin mining, the majority of mining hash rate is produced in China or at least gathered by China-based bitcoin mining pools. But, because this geographic concentration could present potential risks to Bitcoin, there is an ongoing effort to decentralize mining. You can start to explore that Bitcoin Rabbit Hole with this recent article.)
Starting At The Beginning
Through âCrypto For Congress,â the Chamber of Digital Commerce is advocating for expanded use and adoption of digital assets and blockchain technology in general. As a free market advocate, the chamber does not officially favor one crypto project over another, but chose BTC for this initial donation for practical reasons.
âWe felt it was important to start with the basics of simplicity,â Boring explained. âBitcoin being the first cryptocurrency, the largest by market cap and the most well known, we felt that this was the best one to get started with.â
It stands to reason that a more pragmatic and better firsthand understanding of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency in general will start with Bitcoin. While efforts like âCrypto For Congressâ are still very much needed, the Chamber of Digital Commerce is optimistic that BTC-based campaign donations are improving this understanding among the nationâs lawmakers.
âWeâre seeing more and more members of Congress accept bitcoin as well as other cryptocurrencies for their campaigns,â Boring said. âWe see this as one small way that members of Congress can show that they understand this technology and promote it and support itâ¦ Where weâre helping to educate more people and more campaigns and more policymakers, weâre seeing a lot of support from the Washington community and thatâs a big step forward that weâve taken as an industry.â
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.