WASHINGTON May 8 The U.S. Federal Election
Committee said on Thursday that the virtual currency, bitcoin,
could be used for donations to political action committees under
In a unanimous vote, the FEC, which enforces U.S. campaign
finance laws, said a political committee could accept donations
in bitcoins up to an individual limit of $100 for each election
cycle and could also purchase bitcoins.
But the advisory opinion, issued in response to a request
for guidance by the Make Your Laws political action committee,
said the committee "must sell the bitcoins it purchases and
deposit the proceeds into its campaign depository before
spending those funds."
The FEC did not approve the use of bitcoins to purchase
campaign goods and services.
The agency approved the request by the Make Your Law
committee to accept individual bitcoin donations to $100 for
each electoral cycle, require contributors to list their names,
addresses, occupations and employers, and affirm they own the
bitcoins they are contributing.
Bitcoin, the most popular digital currency, is not backed by
any government or central bank, and its value can swing
dramatically based on demand. Users can transfer bitcoins to
each other online and store the currency in digital "wallets."
The FEC said it concluded that bitcoins were "money or
anything of value" under federal election law.
But it acknowledged that "government agencies, courts and
others are grappling" with whether virtual currencies should be
treated as money.
The U.S. Justice Department warned last year that many
virtual currency services did not have the proper controls in
place to prevent money laundering and could be used to dodge
(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)