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North Carolina Bans Crypto Donations for Political Campaigns

The electoral campaign finance board of North Carolina will not allow election candidates to accept crypto donations in order to fund their campaigns.


Although the Federal Election Commission in 2014 allowed candidates for federal office to accept Bitcoin donations, U.S state campaign finance offices are free to set their own rules for state election candidates.

A problem of valuation

A Republican candidate running in the 2018 U.S midterm Legislature elections, Emmanuel Wilder, asked the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics Enforcement earlier this year if he could accept cryptocurrency or Bitcoin donations for his campaign funds. He also made suggestions as to how these donations could be valued, no doubt expecting this to be an issue the state would consider.

In an email to the elections board Wilder said:

“I know that this is new, but there is a great opportunity to show that North Carolina is truly open to new emerging markets.”

Kim Westbrook Strach, State Board of Elections Executive Director for North Carolina, responded to Wilder this month. She outlined its refusal as the monetary limits detailed in state campaign finance regulations are provided in U.S dollars, and cryptocurrencies cannot be reliably valued. Westbrook Strach said:

“We do not have the confidence that we could adequately regulate contributions to a political campaign in North Carolina in the form of cryptocurrency.”

Wilder replied with his disappointment, but appreciation for the decision expressing how blockchain and other technology can improve the operation of businesses and public institutions and predicting:

“Although it might not be today, there will be a day when this technology will have a place in the political process.”

The electoral campaign finance board of North Carolina will not allow election candidates to accept donations in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.

Anonymity is also an issue for donations

The pseudo-anonymous nature of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is also a consideration for electoral campaigns and associated finance regulators in the U.S. Jen Jones, a spokesperson for regional campaign finance watchdog Democracy North Carolina gave her advice prior to the decision. Jones said the State Board should consider, “whether it’s possible for candidates to receive campaign donations via cryptocurrency while also complying with state disclosure requirements.”

The state of Kansas also declined a request to accept cryptocurrency donations in 2017.

In June 2018 a Republican candidate in Missouri had to refuse a donation of $130,276 worth of Bitcoin as it exceeded the $5400 individual donation limit. The candidate, Austin Petersen, is one of a handful of U.S politicians looking to cryptocurrency as a source of campaign funding.

Do you think cryptocurrencies should now be accepted as a source of election campaign funding?


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Hackers Hit North Carolina County Government and Demand Two Bitcoin Ransom

· December 6, 2017 · 4:00 am

The county government of Mecklenburg, North Carolina, has been hacked, leaving their server files being held for a ransom of 2 bitcoins.


One of the growing problems for businesses and governments today is having their electronic files hacked and held for ransom. Last month, computer hackers targeted the Sacramento Regional Transit system, resulting in 30 million files being deleted. The ransom price demanded by the hackers for that attack was a single bitcoin. Now that ransom price is being doubled as hackers have hit the Mecklenburg, North Carolina county government and are demanding 2 bitcoins.

Don’t Open That Attachment!

County Manager Dena Diorio said that the hackers got into the county’s system when an employee clicked on an email attachment they shouldn’t have. (It’s amazing in this day and age that people still click on strange email attachments.) Once the click took place, spyware and a worm were unleashed into the system, freezing all of the electronic files.

Diorio told county commissioners in a meeting that the files were being held for ransom as the hackers were demanding 2 bitcoins, which is now worth almost $25,000 (at the time of this article’s writing). The deadline for paying the ransom is 1pm EST today.

Dena Diorio told reporters that the county was considering paying the ransom, but she did express some concerns over doing so, stating:

There’s a risk you don’t get the decryption key and don’t get your files back. There’s also the chance if they think you’ll pay, they may try to get you to come back again.

Is It Cheaper to Pay the Ransom?

Local governments and businesses do find themselves in a quandary when targeted by hackers. Is it actually cheaper to pay the hackers off to once again have access to critical files? A third-party group could restore said files, but using them could cost more than what the hackers were demanding. Of course, as Diorio mentioned above, paying off a hacker could embolden them to attack you again.

This difficult decision is summed up by Diorio when she said:

We need to determine how much it would cost (to pay) versus fixing it on our own. There are a lot of places that pay because it’s cheaper.

The short deadline is obviously putting pressure on the country commissioners to capitulate to the hackers. As of now, the county is switching to paper records for their employees today.

As for the hacking attack, County Manager Dena Diorio summed it up by saying:

I don’t think we were targeted. I don’t think we were at fault. There have been many, many institutions that have been breached. I think we do everything we can to keep our firewall secure.

Do you think Mecklenburg, North Carolina should pay the ransom of 2 bitcoins or not? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Wikipedia and Pixabay.

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