South Carolina

Bitcoin-funded elections? Cryptocurrency donations would be allowed under SC bill

South Carolina’s House Ethics Committee rejected a request last year to allow Bitcoin for election campaign donations, but a new bill in the state House of Representatives would allow candidates to take donations in digital currencies.

The bill would require candidates to report the market-rate value of digital currencies like Bitcoin when they come in as donations. Candidates would have to sell the Bitcoins or other “cryptocurrencies” before spending them in the campaign. 

The Federal Elections Commission began allowing candidates for federal office to begin taking digital currencies in 2014, The News & Observer reports, but not all states have followed suit. North Carolina rejected allowing Bitcoin and other virtual currencies as elections contributions last year, the newspaper reports. 

In South Carolina a candidate asked to accept Bitcoin as a contribution last year. The House Ethics Committee decided that since current state law has no provisions for digital currencies, candidates could not accept Bitcoin. 

This new bill, which is currently in the House judiciary committee, does not yet have a companion bill in the state’s Senate.

PalmettoChain executive director Dennis Fassuliotis represents a trade group pushing for blockchain technology like Bitcoin in South Carolina. He told the Charleston Post and Courier he hopes to find a state senator to sponsor a bill in the Senate.

At least seven states have banned donations in cryptocurrencies “fearing foreign meddling or insufficient resources and knowledge to regulate bitcoin contributions,” The Center for Public Integrity reports. 

“On the state level, those donations are subject to a patchwork of policies. At least eight states and the District of Columbia allow crypto contributions and have created limitations or added language to their election manuals addressing the issue,” according to The Center for Public Integrity.

Related stories from The State in Columbia SC

Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.