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Cryptocurrency election contributions coming under scrutiny

Canadian officials are seeking to clarify how cryptocurrency donations can be made to election campaigns…

The rise in interest in the cryptocurrency world is causing some concern to regulators around the world. And one issue that’s slowly making its way up the list is what to do about elections. In particular, people who want to make contributions to election campaigns using crypto.

The first country that looks like it’s going to tackle the issue is Canada.

Elections Canada has launched a new document, as it looks to come up with a consensus amongst political parties with regards how to deal with contributions that come in via the likes of Bitcoin. As the document Election Canada has issued questions, “are cryptocurrencies monetary or non-monetary for the purpose of the Canada Elections Act? How do the contribution rules apply? Can political entities buy property or services directly with cryptocurrencies?”, adding that “the note also clarifies reporting requirements for buying, selling, transferring and holding cryptocurrencies”.

It zeroes in too on the question of whether cryptocurrency donations are classed as “monetary or non-monetary”, and in the case of Canadian election law, that’s a crucial definition. The answer to that question will affect the reporting of contributions to campaigns. At the moment, Elections Canada is classifying crypto donations as “non-monetary”.

The document concludes that parties will need to record contributions, and that “most importantly, this means knowing who is making contributions and using a two-step process for identification and acceptance of contributions over $20 so that ineligible contributions do not enter the political system”.

That in effect, using crypto is not a way to bypass knowing the identity of key contributors.

With America gearing up for a pivotal election itself next year as well, it’ll be interesting to see if Canada’s approach is adopted in the US as well.


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