Bitcoins-for-Candidates Bill in TN Legislature

Got any Bitcoin you can spare? If so, you might soon be able to use it to make a political contribution to a candidate running for elected office in Tennessee.

A couple of Volunteer State lawmakers want to clarify the law so there’s no question that candidates can use digital currency to fuel their political ambitions.

Sen. Steven Dickerson of Nashville and Rep. Jeremy Faison of Cosby, both Republicans, have filed a bill to ensure state law matches federal campaign finance regulations on the matter. In May 2014, the Federal Election Commission ruled unanimously to allow Bitcoin donations to political candidates.

“That ruling applies to federal elections. There was possible ambiguity as far as state races. This bill would remove any ambiguity,” Dickerson recently told CoinDesk, a website dedicated to news about Bitcoin and other digital currencies.

Senate Bill 674 would also require that any increase in the value of the digital currency be reported as interest in registry of election finance filings. Candidates would also be required to sell the alternative currency and deposit the proceeds before “spending the funds.” The legislation is HB701 in the lower chamber.

The bill has been assigned to the State & Local Government Committee in the Senate, and the Local Government Committee in the House.

Bitcoin, often described as the first of its kind in the realm of “virtual currency,” emerged in 2009. Bitcoins are “mined” using complex computer programs and are then entered into circulation through “peer-to-peer transfers” independent of traditional banks.