Madison Ald. Mark Clear accepts Bitcoin contributions in his run for state Assembly

markclear02 May 2014 / The Cap Times – At his day job as executive director of Accelerate Madison, Ald. Mark Clear dedicates himself to promoting technology and innovation in business. Now he’s found a controversial way to do that in the political realm as a candidate for state Assembly.

Clear, one of two Democratic candidates vying for an open seat on Madison’s west side, proudly announced on Wednesday that he was (in all likelihood) the first candidate in state history to accept a campaign contribution in Bitcoins, a peer-to-peer virtual currency that has become an increasingly popular form of payment in the tech world.

Bitcoins can be exchanged for U.S. dollars at various online exchanges. Like any other currency, its value compared to other currencies fluctuates.

Clear received the contribution of 0.2213 bitcoins, valued at roughly $100, from Monty Schmidt, a Madison software entrepreneur who now runs Wuntusk, a firm on a mission to “promote and further the cause of crypto-currency technologies.”

Clear said he doesn’t see any reason why the contribution would run afoul of the law.

“The method of transaction is not really material,” he told the Cap Times (via Facebook, appropriately) Thursday.

“I suppose if one wanted to be overly precise, the donation of Bitcoin could be considered an in-kind, which then the campaign ‘sold’ for cash, but that seems like an unimportant nuance,” he added. “The key part of campaign finance disclosure is knowing who gave how much to whom, not the details of how.”…… Read more

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