North Carolina’s election officials have determined that candidates for state offices will not be permitted to accept cryptocurrency donations for their campaigns, according to News & Observer. The decision was made in response to an inquiry from Republican Emmanuel Wilder who had the State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement to provide formal guidance on the issue.
Wilder made the request for guidance earlier in 2018. At the time, he said, “I think having the option is important, not only for giving choice to people, but supporting this new upcoming financial service." According to Wilder, He also reportedly told the elections board that he viewed the idea as “a great way to show that North Carolina is truly open to emerging markets.”
The issue drew concerns from some campaign finance watchdog organizations in the state, who expressed worries about whether cryptocurrency donations could be made in a way that satisfied North Carolina’s requirements for full disclosure.
The federal Election Commission has already provided guidance for candidates running for federal offices, detailing when and how those candidates can accept donations in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, that federal permission does not apply to candidates at the local and state level. For example, officials in Kansas rejected cryptocurrency donations for local and state office-seekers just last year.
State elections executive director Kim Westerbrook Strach delivered the official decision to Wilder in a letter. She cited current campaign finance laws that express monetary limitations only in U.S. dollars, and concerns about how any crypto donations could be properly valued. She wrote, “We do not have the confidence that we could adequately regulate contributions to a political campaign in North Carolina in the form of cryptocurrency.”
Wilder issued a statement that remained optimistic:
“Blockchain and other technologies hold the ability to improve how business and public institutions operate day to day. Although it might not be today, there will be a day when this technology will have a place in the political process.”