Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are definitely going to play a huge part in the 2020 US elections, with candidates now beginning to announce where they stand on the crypto field. The latest blockchain and crypto supporter is Jared Polis – governor candidate for Colorado – as he admits to having been an early adopter of cryptocurrency. He has supported calls for regulations on federal employees owning virtual currencies, meaning they would be required by law to disclose any crypto holdings. Polis isn’t the first candidate to run with blockchain in his campaign, Andrew Yang – 2020 Presidential candidate – is also a heavy supporter of crypto.
A Technical Background
Unfortunately, blockchain and cryptocurrency can be a little daunting to those with little understanding of the technology and how certain systems – such as networking – really work. Fortunately for Colorado, Jared Polis has a wealth of experience in the IT industry. When he was at college, he founded American Information Systems – a dial-up internet service provider. From there he went from strength to strength, helping to take his parents business online and later founding ProFlowers. This deep-set technical knowledge provides Polis with the perfect platform to support crypto in his campaign.
Blockchain and Pot
Colorado is well known for its marijuana industry, and it is fast becoming a haven for pot tourists. Disappointingly, the marijuana industry has a bit of a bad reputation and most banks won’t touch the companies involved. This means that it’s increasingly difficult for dispensaries to find a provider that will give them a credit card machine, meaning all transactions have to be done in cash. This is where blockchain and cryptos are stepping in. With more firms creating blockchain payment apps – such as Bitpay and BTCPay – it is slowly becoming easier for these merchants to accept other forms of currency. The Coloradan pot market stands to gain and grow thanks to the emergence of blockchain-friendly governor candidate Polis.
Colorado as a National Hub for Blockchain Innovation
Polis wants to turn Colorado into a national hub for blockchain innovation through stringent regulation processes, with the goal of keeping Colorado at the forefront of emerging American technological markets. Polis is pushing to introduce blockchain technology into voter protection and Colorado’s cybersecurity, with this forming a large part of his candidacy platform. During the 2016 elections, there were multiple reports of hacking and voter fraud, all of which would be wiped out thanks to the immutable nature of blockchain.
It’s Not All Good News for Crypto
While many candidates for various roles have come out supporting blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, only a handful remain in the race for their positions. Just last week Austin Petersen lost his race to get a seat in the Senate. Petersen was a crypto-friendly candidate and would have given the crypto community a boost had he landed Senate seat. If more crypto-friendly Senators and Governors manage to win seats, more blockchain-friendly bills could be passed, making America a hub for blockchain and crypto development.
Fairly Questionable KYC
When it comes to donation policies, the American elections have some of the tightest around. In order for Andrew Yang to accept cryptos, his team had to implement a stringent KYC process to prevent unlawful donations entering his campaign books. By law, only US citizens can donate to candidates, this is designed to prevent other nations from influencing the outcome of the elections. Interestingly, Polis allows Americans to donate to his campaign using crypto, but the KYC process feels fairly weak. No ID is required to verify the donor is actually American or even eligible to donate. It simply has a section for the donor’s address and a handful of tick boxes to accept that you are in fact American, eligible to donate, and are of legal voting age. By using BitPay, Polis accepts donations in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash up to a limit of $100 per person.
Polis gives the crypto community hope that the future of cryptocurrencies and blockchain is coming to America a lot sooner than expected. But, with slightly lazy KYC processes, he could soon find himself in hot water with the donation committee. A crypto-friendly governor would certainly provide a huge boost to the blockchain ecosystem and spur on a new generation of blockchain companies in Colorado. Yet, questions about his donations processes might actually work to hamper his cause over the long-term.