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Bitcoin The Almighty Buck Politics

Congressman Accepts BitCoin For His US Senate Run 165

Posted by timothy
from the so-giving-of-him dept.
SonicSpike writes "U.S. Representative Steve Stockman, a vocal opponent of Federal Reserve policy, told reporters that he wants to promote Bitcoin, whose most fervent evangelists tout as an alternative to fiat currency. To do so, he is now accepting Bitcoin for his Senate campaign against incumbent John Cornyn of Texas. The announcement was made last night at the launch event for the NYC Bitcoin Center, located just up the street from the New York Stock Exchange. Center founder Nick Spanos a real estate developer and Bitcoin enthusiast says the Center itself is still in something of a planning stage, existing more as a statement about Bitcoin itself, though he plans on hosting a hackathon later this month."
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Congressman Accepts BitCoin For His US Senate Run

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  • I like the idea (Score:5, Informative)

    by wbr1 (2538558) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @02:00PM (#45847643)
    I like the idea of crypto currencies, but many of these news articles seem made to fuel further speculation in the market. It needs to become less speculative and more stable to be a true alternative.
    • I like the idea of crypto currencies...

      Why? Bitcoin has many of the worst aspects of a gold standard. It is useless for transactions that don't involve a computer to facilitate trade - i.e. cash transactions. Bitcoin has very high levels of exchange rate risk due to volatility, speculation and lack of liquidity. Few people really know what it is and even fewer accept it for payment. For most merchants it costs extra resources and adds risk to handle and exchange since they will have to convert it back to dollars anyway - the same problem wi

      • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc&carpanet,net> on Thursday January 02, 2014 @02:28PM (#45847991) Homepage

        Sure it has issues, even compared to cash but... cash can't be used for online purchases either. I don't think it is a problem if one currency isn't the perfect solution for all problems. Is it really a failure of one currency if it only fills in a niche? Do you really think the niche of providing online transactions to people who are distrustful of other currencies is a failing?

        As a niche market, I think bitcoin works pretty well overall and fills in a real gap between cash and traditional bank mediated transactions.

        • by tftp (111690)

          Is it really a failure of one currency if it only fills in a niche?

          BTC does not fill any niche. What is it that BTC allows me to do that I cannot do through the bank, using any currency of my choice?

          On the other hand, the bank offers me features that BTC does not have. I do not need to worry about the mechanics of inter-bank transfer. I do not need to carry a computer and a BTC wallet with me; a simple number on a plastic card will do. If I lose that number, I am insured against the loss. If a merchant

          • Is it really a failure of one currency if it only fills in a niche?

            BTC does not fill any niche. What is it that BTC allows me to do that I cannot do through the bank, using any currency of my choice?

            Buy illegal stuff from certain websites, lose half your wealth in an instant when some random nation decides to ban them, waste metric shit-tonnes of electricity for little to no fiscal gain...

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            BTC does not fill any niche. What is it that BTC allows me to do that I cannot do through the bank, using any currency of my choice?

            Semi-anonymous donation.

            Think of it now - this guy now has a way to basically fund his campaign without oversight. Sure, he can report all his BTC dealings on his public wallet, but he can always create another wallet for those "special interests" that want to bypass any election fundraising laws. And since BTC's blockchain only tells you which wallets were used, he can proba

        • by jythie (914043)
          Or at minimal it could potentially work really well. Right now, while the mechanics indeed can fill that gap, pragmatically the ecosystem is just too unstable, resulting in BTC not actually being able to fill that role all that well.
          • Or at minimal it could potentially work really well.

            Why? Paint a clear and defensible roadmap by which bitcoin becomes a currency that makes sense for a significant portion of the population. Explain how bitcoin provides any meaningful advantage over existing currencies. Explain how the volatility, liquidity and exchange rate risk problems will be resolved. I've got a masters degree in finance and am a certified accountant and I cannot see any scenario in which bitcoin is anything other than a silly idea. Perhaps you are smarter than I am.

            • by jythie (914043)
              Listing yourself as having a masters in finance and being a certified accountant actually does not lend any additional credibility to you other then having completed a higher degree. While there is some overlap between those skillsets and economics, they are actually pretty divergent. You would be just as qualified if you had a masters of philosophy. But anyway.

              First, I will put my cards on the table with regard to BTC in that I am not a supporter, I personally think it will fade into obscurity in a f
          • by cusco (717999)

            I can take a US twenty dollar bill, travel to Araypalpa, 3000 meters above sea level in the Peruvian Andes, and use that to buy something. If no one knows the current exchange rate they can use the single telephone in town to call Cusco and find out. When I can do that with bitcoin I'll consider it a real currency. Until then it's about as useful to me as Zimbabwean dollars.

        • by lgw (121541)

          Do you really think the niche of providing online transactions to people who are distrustful of other currencies is a failing?

          The only niche BTC fills right now is online transactions for illegal goods. You don't need to "trust" USD in order to buy a pizza on a credit card. Heck, if you expect hyper-inflation, a month's float on the credit card makes it an ideal currency.

          The niche BTC can't fill is a stable store of value, mostly because that's not what currencies are for. Nor it particularly important that a currency suffers from inflation, as long as the rate is low enough to not be a hassle day-to-day (once you have to spe

      • It is useless for transactions that don't involve a computer to facilitate trade - i.e. cash transactions.

        It's 2014. People carry computers around in their pockets these days, heck even my mother does. Even when you pay with cash, very likely that cash is placed immediately inside a computer controlled cash register. Of all the criticisms of Bitcoin I've seen over the years, this one has to be the strangest.

        By the way, perhaps you aren't aware of how horrifically broken existing payment systems are. I've ta

      • by PRMan (959735)
        So much misinformation here.

        I like the idea of crypto currencies...

        Why? Bitcoin has many of the worst aspects of a gold standard.

        What worst aspects? It does everything gold does but can also be used online or moved around the world instantly for pennies (or even free right now if you are willing to wait).

        It is useless for transactions that don't involve a computer to facilitate trade - i.e. cash transactions.

        Everyone has a cell phone. I borrowed $2 from a guy at work for the vending machines and instantly texted him $2 in bitcoin using the Coinbase texting service.

        Bitcoin has very high levels of exchange rate risk due to volatility, speculation and lack of liquidity.

        This is true, if by risk you mean that you have a greater than 2/3 chance of your money being worth more.

        Few people really know what it is and even fewer accept it for payment. For most merchants it costs extra resources and adds risk to handle and exchange since they will have to convert it back to dollars anyway - the same problem with them accepting foreign currencies which is why most don't. It's very expensive to use once you account for the full cost of the risk factors. Basically it scratches some ideological itches but as currencies go it doesn't have a lot to recommend it.

        Actually, services like BitPay and Coinba

  • By all means (Score:4, Insightful)

    by i kan reed (749298) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @02:01PM (#45847657) Homepage Journal

    Let's make it so it's even harder to tell who's bribing their way into power in Washington.

    • Campaign donations are subject to federal reporting regulations regardless of what currency they use.

      • by travdaddy (527149)
        Campaign donations are subject to federal reporting regulations regardless of what currency they use.

        Which raises a question. So if someone anonymously dumps 1000 bitcoins on him, then what happens?
        • Re:By all means (Score:5, Informative)

          by jeffmeden (135043) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @02:22PM (#45847911) Homepage Journal

          Campaign donations are subject to federal reporting regulations regardless of what currency they use.

          Which raises a question. So if someone anonymously dumps 1000 bitcoins on him, then what happens?

          He has to not spend it, or run afoul of the FEC for not having his campaign funding papered up nicely. Now if they give it to a superpac, and that superpac goes and gets him elected with a billion dollar campaign, no one could care less.

          • Plus the limit per candidate per election cycle is $5,200. So any donation over about 6 bitcoins would be rejected immediately.

        • >> someone anonymously dumps 1000 bitcoins on him,

          Same thing as what happens if someone leaves an envelope filled with 500 crisp $100 bills at the office.

  • Is this the same Steve Stockman who has this gem [talkingpointsmemo.com]?

    • by Mononoke (88668)
      Yup. I'm on his mailing list. I didn't win the AR-15 he allegedly gave away, but the emails are often humorous:

      Dear patriot,
      Well, I did it again.
      Every gun grabber called my office yesterday screaming and crying because I posted this to our website.
      Yes, I find liberal tears to be the best gun cleaner.
      Now that's funny.
      But you know what would really have gun grabbers dabbing their eyes with their petticoats?
      If I were to run this campaign for U.S. Senate.
      So let's give them something to cry about.

    • by tobiasly (524456)

      Is this the same Steve Stockman who has this gem [talkingpointsmemo.com]?

      I didn't follow your link but if he accepts Bitcoin and he's a Ruby coder then maybe we finally have a chance at a tech-savvy congressman!

  • Isn't it nice? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheloniousToady (3343045) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @02:28PM (#45847977)

    Isn't it nice that Bitcoin can be used to buy both drugs and Senators?

    • by TeknoHog (164938)
      If that's your main problem with Bitcoin, you should be really worried about cash...
      • I say...I say...it was just a joke, Son. My main problem is with long-eared varmints like you.

        (Sorry for the bad Yosemite Sam impression - just another joke, Son.)

  • by future assassin (639396) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @02:28PM (#45847985) Homepage

    US Representative refuses all donations to his campaign.

    • So you only want billionaires to be able to run for office?

      • And how is this markedly different from the current situation? How many non-millionaires are there in congress?

        • Isn't the point to try and improve the situation?

          • Isn't the point to try and improve the situation?

            If we really wanted to improve the situation, we would set the system up so that there is no such thing as buying favors, er, I mean "campaign donations," and instead have all 'bona fide candidates,' i.e. people who get on enough state ballots, get X amount from the Federal Campaign Commission, not a penny less, not a penny more.

            Or something to that effect.

    • by westlake (615356)

      US Representative refuses all donations to his campaign.

      That gives the candidate who is independently wealthy a decided advantage even in the least populated and most compact of districts.

      The average congressman represents about 700,000 people.

      When labor unions were strong, union workers on the street and canvassing door to door were an enormous resource for the Democratic candidate.

      It's naive to assume that financial contributions are the only ones that matters. It's naive to assume that in an era of political action groups that direct financial contribution

  • The announcement was made last night at the launch event for the NYC Bitcoin Center, located just up the street from the New York Stock Exchange.

    So they are locating this alleged future facility near the NYSE because they hope that will create an illusion of financial credibility.

    Center founder Nick Spanos a real estate developer and Bitcoin enthusiast says the Center itself is still in something of a planning stage, existing more as a statement about Bitcoin itself, though he plans on hosting a hackathon later this month."

    Oh, so there is no actual center and this is just a bunch of ideological masturbation. Honestly I cannot think of a single reason other than ideology that a real estate developer would have any use for or interest in bitcoin.

    • by cusco (717999)

      It's kind of inefficient to launder drug money using real estate. While the overhead is less than what CitiCorp or Bank of America would charge, it's really, really slow. The developer is probably just trying to expand his clients' options.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @02:34PM (#45848085) Homepage

    This is interesting in light of the recent story stating that the FEC Will Not Allow Bitcoin Campaign Contributions [slashdot.org]. Maybe the candidate doesn't read Slashdot. I look forward to hearing the FEC respond, and how much of a fuss this guy is ready to make.

    • by niado (1650369)
      This guy is pretty radical. I would personally consider him a borderline nutjob, though perhaps that's too inflammatory.

      He actually is/was under investigation by the FEC [wikipedia.org] for some "large" donations made in response to a Native American casino bill that he introduced...
    • This is interesting in light of the recent story stating that the FEC Will Not Allow Bitcoin Campaign Contributions [slashdot.org]. Maybe the candidate doesn't read Slashdot. I look forward to hearing the FEC respond, and how much of a fuss this guy is ready to make.

      The publicity value of the stunt aside; my guess is ultimately he is "accepting Bitcoin" the same way the car dealer "accepted Bitcoin for a Tesla." In other words, convert Bitcoin to dollars via an exchange and give me the dollars. Saying that is accepting bit coins is a bit disingenuous; it's like saying "I paid for my house with Google stock" because you sold enough to pay for your house.

  • Since nobody wants to part with their bitcoin, he will be funding his campaign with fiat currency while reaping the benefits of being to the first to accept bitcoin. It's a win win

  • http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/07/bitcoin-clampdown-continues-as-federal-judge-says-its-a-currency/ [techcrunch.com]

    Pretty soon the federal government is going to reach out and definitively regulate Bitcoin. That is one of the functions of a central government.
    Section 8 of the Constitution enumerates the powers of Congress, among which;

    "To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;"

    Why would you vote into Congress someone who seems not to have read, or seems no

    • I wished they had fixed the standard weights and measures.

      Douchebags didn't act on Jefferson's proposal for a decimal system (before the metric system!).

      Now I have to own TWO sets of wrenches.

      Why would you vote into Congress someone who seems not to have read, or seems not to agree with, the founding documents?

      Not bloody likely. The guy is obviously a nut job. Anyway if recent experience holds true he'll get nominated by the Teapublicans and rejected in the general election in a classic foot shot.

  • I wonder what Steve Stockman will do with all his money there? :^O
  • Might as well just donate to them in dogecoins, since they're all just bitches of corporations and special interest groups.

  • by plopez (54068) on Thursday January 02, 2014 @06:16PM (#45850705) Journal

    Bitcoin reminds me of the bank specie circulated in the 1800s. Banks would accept legal tender, i.e. gold and silver, as deposits ad then print up specie redeemable at only that bank to be redeemed. If someone accepted it it could be used as de facto currency. There was nothing preventing it from being rejected for payment or banks printing up much more specie than they had deposits for. It was responsible for several major crashes when there was a run on specie and it was discovered the banks could not cover all of the debts or would only redeem it at a fraction of its supposed value.

Wernher von Braun settled for a V-2 when he coulda had a V-8.

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