This week, Sen. Rand Paul became the first U.S. Presidential Candidate to accept Bitcoin donations. The New York Times published an article entitled, “In Accepting Bitcoin, Rand Paul Raises Money and Questions”. The article argues “presidential fund-raising [...] may have just become even more secretive”, suggesting that Bitcoin opens the doors for illegal contributions. The war of misinformation against Rand Paul has begun. Bitcoin is not untraceable and Rand Paul is trying to out perform the Fed in secrecy.
Money and information; if you can control these you can rule the masses. As a decentralized digital currency, Bitcoin liberates money from central control by any individual or group. As a public ledger of transactions, the Bitcoin network (the blockchain), holds a complete record of all transactions making it perfect for accountability in campaign finance. Bitcoin is transparent. This fact escapes many journalist and politicians who often prefer to cast Bitcoin beneath the shadow of the Silk Road and the Dark Web. While questioning Paul’s intentions the author also recorgnizes that Paul follows the FCC rules that limit Bitcoin contributions to $100.
Below is the email I wrote to the author addressing the false premise that bitcoin is “ultimately untraceable”:
Bitcoin is perfectly traceable.
This is a common misunderstanding because of its murky origins. But every transaction on the Bitcoin network (Blockchain) is recorded on a public ledger viewable by anyone with eyes and an internet connection. Check out blockchain.info. You can check the balance and activity of any bitcoin address. For this reason Bitcoin is the perfect campaign finance currency.
Here’s a great article explaining the traceability and transparency of Bitcoin: How Anonymous is Bitcoin
Another omitted fact is that a Bitcoin donor must submit their name, address, and occupation before they are able to make a donation to Senator Paul.
Your article is based on a very false premise and common misunderstandings about this emergent technology. I hope you’ll acknowledge this mistake and make all necessary corrections.
I’ll let you all know about the reply… once I hear back.
My next and far more important letter will be to Assemblyman Matt Dababneh who has introduced a bill, AB1326 – Virtual Currency, to the California State Legistlature that would ammend the financial code to impose hefty fees and strenuous regulations on Bitcoin entrepreneurs. Please Tweet @MattDababneh and your CA State assemblyperson about your concerns against this troublesome legislation.
Another blogger wrote a similar article so I blasted him on Twitter.
— Noah Johnson (@FreeNoahJ) April 10, 2015