Bitcoin fundraising: Local House candidate accepts digital donations

You can use them to buy computers from Dell, bouquets from 1-800-Flowers.com and plane tickets from CheapAir.com.

Now, you can also use bitcoins to donate to the Alaska State House campaign of Mountain View resident Cean Stevens.

Stevens, who is challenging incumbent Rep. Geran Tarr in House District 19, is one of the first candidates nationwide to accept digital currency donations since the Federal Election Commission approved the practice earlier this year. She said Pat Jack, founder and CEO of bitpolitic.com, first introduced her to bitcoin and encouraged her to launch a bitcoin fundraising strategy.

“My campaign is most excited with the relative ease with which we incorporated bitcoin campaign donations,” Stevens said.

Bitcoin donations are instantly converted to US dollars through an automated payment processor and reported like all other campaign contributions, Stevens said. According to finance reports filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission, her campaign has received $2,315 in donations this election cycle. Tarr has pulled in more than $16,200, campaign finance reports show.

Besides accepting bitcoin donations, Stevens said she is looking forward to learning more and using the digital currency in her own landscaping business. She said she also believes Alaska offers good opportunities for commercial-scale bitcoin mining; the computerized process of adding bitcoin transactions to the block chain and releasing new bitcoin.

“Bitcoin mining operations utilize specialized computer hardware that runs at 100 percent capacity, and runs that way 24 hours per day, seven days per week,” Stevens wrote in an email. “Bitcoin is a nonstop, global market; the first market of its kind in the history of human civilization. These bitcoin mining facilities that provide for the increased efficiency of the bitcoin transaction processing network can produce a tremendous amount of heat, therefore cooling this type of operation can be very expensive and Alaska’s cool to freezing temperatures provide an excellent opportunity for the development of industrial scale bitcoin mining operations.”

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