Rand Paul is the first presidential candidate to accept Bitcoin

April 8, 2015

For those interested in crypto-currency, that future just got a little brighter.
Senator Rand Paul, who just announced his candidacy for president, is now the first major party candidate in American history to accept donations in Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is a digital currency that was created and launched in 2009 as a convenient and quick method of payment, which operates in similarity to “peer-to-peer” file sharing.
Bitcoin has now massively expanded to many different online markets with even big companies like Amazon, Target, and Apple accepting the currency as a form of payment for their products and services. Some PACs and organizations have accepted the crypto-currency in the past as payment, but Senator Paul is the first presidential candidate to do so directly.
The Washington Post described Paul’s move to accept Bitcoin donations as “genius” and believes this move may be his way of showing how friendly he is toward libertarian crowd in Silicon Valley.
So it’s no surprise that he’d turn to it as a way to juice his campaign. But there’s a longer-term strategic play, here, one that speaks to Paul’s appeal among tech-focused libertarians in Silicon Valley and young people who are eager early adopters of new services. As my colleague Katie Zezima wrote this morning:
[Paul is] opening offices in Austin and Silicon Valley and using platforms like Snapchat to broaden his appeal to younger voters who may not respond to traditional political ad buys or outreach efforts. Paul is also trying to tap into the vast well of tech money, holding meetings with big-pocketed potential donors in California and other tech hubs.
The addition of Bitcoin donations also has a double benefit based on the fact that the user and merchant fees of Bitcoin transactions are overall much cheaper for making and receiving payments versus other methods of electronic fundraising. This advantage would allow Paul to retain more of his donations to be used towards his election efforts.


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