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Author Topic: New Hampshire Deputy Secretary of State Recognizes Bitcoin Contributions  (Read 6941 times)
ben-abuya
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August 29, 2012, 11:15:11 PM
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As posted earlier, New Hampshire State Representative Mark Warden is accepting campaign contributions in Bitcoin. His campaign's treasurer recently met with the New Hampshire Deputy Secretary of State regarding the Bitcoin contributions. After examining the information, the Deputy Secretary of State said that he did not see anything wrong with the contributions, nor the way they were handled, and that he would take no action.

The stipulations fleshed out in the vetting process were that:

1. Donations be accompanied by the donor's name and address, and
2. Contributions are acceptable only from US citizens and permanent residents.

According to Warden's campaign manager, Bitcoin contributions are considered in-kind donations and are assigned a market value when received. Those values are reported on campaign finance reports.

I believe this is one of the first official rulings on the legal use of Bitcoin by a government authority. This is an encouraging sign, along with the statement by a spokesperson for the Finnish Central Bank, confirming that Bitcoin is perfectly legal.

http://lamassubtc.com/
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August 30, 2012, 03:18:45 AM
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Very cool! This would be good for a news piece... you listening, journalists??
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August 30, 2012, 04:46:53 AM
 #3

this might be bigger than it looks on the surface.
we have

a politician now really accepting bitcoin donations
an established process
a state official ok'ing them.

of course, it is not as easy for him as posting a single address online like a charity. he needs to collect name and address beforehand. i am sure there is an easy solution for that.
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August 30, 2012, 05:18:56 AM
 #4

nice!  as long as you follow the rules bitcoin is perfectly fine. lets get some more!

BitPay : The World Leader in Bitcoin Business Solutions

https://bitpay.com

Does your website accept bitcoins?
casascius
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August 30, 2012, 05:29:05 AM
 #5

nice!  as long as you follow the rules bitcoin is perfectly fine. lets get some more!


Idea for BitPay that might help politicians and other charities: an easy blind refund option.  When invoked, BitPay will send the bitcoins back to the first address that sent the transaction, no questions asked.  This might help more organizations be willing to accept Bitcoin (e.g. EFF) as they never have to worry about hot potato donations.  A politician's staffer could go down the list and simply click all the donations that cannot be accepted and promptly return them to sender (minus a reasonable handling fee payable to BitPay - why not, since no one's gonna care anyway).

All that matters is that someone has a credible way to push money back to where it came from if for whatever reason they can't be seen accepting it.  The blockchain will clearly report that the money was returned to sender.  It matters little that sometimes the sending address isn't the person who gets credited (e.g. MtGox wallet), that can safely be considered the sender's problem.

If the incoming transaction was nonstandard, that might be more difficult to deal with technically, but not impossible: it could always be sent to a copy of the first transaction's script, which would be identical to sending it back to the original address when an address is present.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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August 30, 2012, 05:31:58 AM
 #6

Mike that is a good idea.  since we buffer funds before they are transferred to the Candidate, we can impose extra rules if the candidate wishes.

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August 30, 2012, 06:30:14 AM
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nice!  as long as you follow the rules bitcoin is perfectly fine. lets get some more!


Idea for BitPay that might help politicians and other charities: an easy blind refund option.  When invoked, BitPay will send the bitcoins back to the first address that sent the transaction, no questions asked.  This might help more organizations be willing to accept Bitcoin (e.g. EFF) as they never have to worry about hot potato donations.  A politician's staffer could go down the list and simply click all the donations that cannot be accepted and promptly return them to sender (minus a reasonable handling fee payable to BitPay - why not, since no one's gonna care anyway).

All that matters is that someone has a credible way to push money back to where it came from if for whatever reason they can't be seen accepting it.  The blockchain will clearly report that the money was returned to sender.  It matters little that sometimes the sending address isn't the person who gets credited (e.g. MtGox wallet), that can safely be considered the sender's problem.

If the incoming transaction was nonstandard, that might be more difficult to deal with technically, but not impossible: it could always be sent to a copy of the first transaction's script, which would be identical to sending it back to the original address when an address is present.
*mines block and points reward to donation address*

Who're you gonna return it to NOW???
casascius
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August 30, 2012, 06:45:46 AM
 #8

*mines block and points reward to donation address*

Who're you gonna return it to NOW???

I would love to see this happen, and to find out what the world interprets this to be.  This would appear identical to the campaign simply mining coins themselves - but could also be interpreted as the miner donating intangible efforts (much like volunteers do) rather than money.  After all, mining a donation into a coinbase transaction isn't actually making a transfer, rather, it is making an effort which may or may not result in a benefit.

However, aside from this... if the donation really must be returned, this can be done simply by issuing any transaction with a fee equal to the number of coinbase coins donated... so it will clearly go to "the mining community", exactly where it came from.



Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper or hardware wallets instead.
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August 30, 2012, 10:30:02 AM
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*mines block and points reward to donation address*

Who're you gonna return it to NOW???

Donate to charity?
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August 30, 2012, 11:44:05 AM
 #10

After examining the information, the Deputy Secretary of State said that he did not see anything wrong with the contributions, nor the way they were handled, and that he would take no action.

need an official source of this statement.

ben-abuya
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August 30, 2012, 02:31:55 PM
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After examining the information, the Deputy Secretary of State said that he did not see anything wrong with the contributions, nor the way they were handled, and that he would take no action.

need an official source of this statement.

Tuxavant, this comes directly from Mark Warden's campaign treasurer who met with the Dep Sec of State. Both the treasurer and Mark Warden looked over my post and authorized it before I posted. If you'd like to fact check, perhaps you could contact Mark directly, or even the Deputy Secretary of State, David Scanlan.

http://lamassubtc.com/
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August 30, 2012, 05:25:40 PM
 #12

After examining the information, the Deputy Secretary of State said that he did not see anything wrong with the contributions, nor the way they were handled, and that he would take no action.

need an official source of this statement.
https://twitter.com/porcupinerealty/status/241160808292315137
dissipate
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August 30, 2012, 05:27:47 PM
 #13

this might be bigger than it looks on the surface.
we have

a politician now really accepting bitcoin donations
an established process
a state official ok'ing them.

of course, it is not as easy for him as posting a single address online like a charity. he needs to collect name and address beforehand. i am sure there is an easy solution for that.

I don't think it is as big a deal as it seems. The same laws apply to any donations: cars, boats, airplanes, apples, carrots... Pretty much anything that can be sold for fiat currency.
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August 30, 2012, 10:57:47 PM
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I don't think it is as big a deal as it seems. The same laws apply to any donations: cars, boats, airplanes, apples, carrots... Pretty much anything that can be sold for fiat currency.

Yes, but so far there has never been legal recognition of bitcoin as being equivalent to "property" that has "value" that someone "can own."  Given that Bitcoin's are really just a figment of the digital imagination of millions of GPUs and CPUs, it remains uncertain how they might be recognized in the legal system.

This is the first legal context that it has been recognized as property with value.  It's not the biggest legal context there can be:  exactly where it falls in the world of securitys, stocks, FOREX, etc, remains to be seen.  But it's still a first step among many.

And the important part, is that it's first foray into a beaurocrat's lap has been positive:  if it had been shot down for whatever reason, Bitcoin would start off at a disadvantage.  We'd be fighting an uphill battle.  So, this is a very positive thing, and enables others to jump on board because now there is a bit of precendence that they can leverage.

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August 30, 2012, 11:05:01 PM
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I don't think it is as big a deal as it seems. The same laws apply to any donations: cars, boats, airplanes, apples, carrots... Pretty much anything that can be sold for fiat currency.

Yes, but so far there has never been legal recognition of bitcoin as being equivalent to "property" that has "value" that someone "can own."  Given that Bitcoin's are really just a figment of the digital imagination of millions of GPUs and CPUs, it remains uncertain how they might be recognized in the legal system.

This is the first legal context that it has been recognized as property with value.  It's not the biggest legal context there can be:  exactly where it falls in the world of securitys, stocks, FOREX, etc, remains to be seen.  But it's still a first step among many.

And the important part, is that it's first foray into a beaurocrat's lap has been positive:  if it had been shot down for whatever reason, Bitcoin would start off at a disadvantage.  We'd be fighting an uphill battle.  So, this is a very positive thing, and enables others to jump on board because now there is a bit of precendence that they can leverage.

And getting recognition is huge.  It establishes the presumption, makes it normal.  Think of the hoops that Jubal tricked the government into jumping through when they met with Mike in Stranger in a Strange Land.

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dissipate
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August 30, 2012, 11:59:43 PM
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I don't think it is as big a deal as it seems. The same laws apply to any donations: cars, boats, airplanes, apples, carrots... Pretty much anything that can be sold for fiat currency.

Yes, but so far there has never been legal recognition of bitcoin as being equivalent to "property" that has "value" that someone "can own."  Given that Bitcoin's are really just a figment of the digital imagination of millions of GPUs and CPUs, it remains uncertain how they might be recognized in the legal system.

This is the first legal context that it has been recognized as property with value.  It's not the biggest legal context there can be:  exactly where it falls in the world of securitys, stocks, FOREX, etc, remains to be seen.  But it's still a first step among many.

And the important part, is that it's first foray into a beaurocrat's lap has been positive:  if it had been shot down for whatever reason, Bitcoin would start off at a disadvantage.  We'd be fighting an uphill battle.  So, this is a very positive thing, and enables others to jump on board because now there is a bit of precendence that they can leverage.

Are you saying other digital currencies like WoW gold and SLLs wouldn't be considered property as well? The government has recognized all kinds of other digital 'stuff' as property, certainly peoples accounts to online services etc. I just don't see them declaring Bitcoin as property that has sales value as that big a deal. I think there is already precedent there for digital assets. If they declared it as some kind of officially recognized 'foreign' currency, that would be something else. But property? Meh.

I do agree that the fact that it wasn't shot down was good though.
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August 31, 2012, 07:46:02 PM
 #17

Serious question: What does a US politician do if their campaign receives cash in mail? They can't legally accept it (is it from a US citizen?). The same should apply to returning (or not) invalid btc donations.

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August 31, 2012, 07:55:06 PM
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Serious question: What does a US politician do if their campaign receives cash in mail? They can't legally accept it (is it from a US citizen?). The same should apply to returning (or not) invalid btc donations.

I think the staffer who is opening the mail stuffs the bills in their pocket so the politician doesn't have to answer any question.  Grin

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ben-abuya
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August 31, 2012, 09:39:55 PM
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Serious question: What does a US politician do if their campaign receives cash in mail? They can't legally accept it (is it from a US citizen?). The same should apply to returning (or not) invalid btc donations.

This actually came up in the discussions. Apparently this doesn't happen very often, so it's not generally a problem. The candidate would have to report receiving the contribution, and then get rid of it in some appropriate way, such as donating it to charity.

This isn't a good strategy for Bitcoin, precisely because it is very reasonable to expect many people to effortlessly send Bitcoin contributions over the Internet.

http://lamassubtc.com/
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