The newspapers are all abuzz with the midterm elections in the US, and you are likely familiar with the results. But did you know that two of the newly-elected politicians are particularly Bitcoin-friendly?
Colorado and California
Specifically, Jared Polis and Gavin Newsom, of Colorado and California respectively, are known for being strong proponents of Bitcoin. At least, Polis is – Newsom just accepts it in campaign donations. But California is one of the most economically powerful states in the US, so his tech-friendly attitude is a positive for the industry anyway.
In 2014, one senator called for authorities to prohibit Bitcoin, calling it dangerous. Polis satirically responded by calling for a ban on US dollars, using the same words. When, in that same year, the Federal Election Commission approved the acceptance of Bitcoin for campaign donations, Polis immediately signed up. He praised the commission for supporting “the rights of individuals seeking alternatives to government-backed currencies to participate in our democratic political process.”
He has worked with Coin Center, blockchain research and advocacy organization, to educate American politicians on the subject of cryptocurrency, and co-founded the ‘Blockchain Caucus’ in 2017. Caucus is an American term referring to a meeting of supporters of a particular interest.
His current campaign website said: “My goal is to establish Colorado as a national hub for blockchain innovation in business and government….I will work alongside the legislature to create a statewide safe harbor designed to exempt cryptocurrencies from state money transmissions laws, and I will work to establish legislation that protects ‘open blockchain tokens’ or cryptocurrencies that are exchangeable for goods and services.”
He defeated Republican politician Walker Stapleton by more than 100,000 votes to become governor of Colorado. Polis happens to be openly gay (a first in US government), Jewish (a first in Colorado government), and extremely wealthy (less of a first in US government).
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Newsom, another Democrat, defeated his opponent by 59 percent. Prior to this, he served as the mayor of San Francisco (home of Coinbase, adopted home of Huobi) for two terms. Interestingly for a Democratic politician, he was once married to a Fox News personality.
His claim to fame amongst the cryptocurrency community is that he was also amongst the first to accept Bitcoin for campaign donations, back in 2014. According to SFGate, he said at the time: “I came from a place of absolute confusion and cynicism on bitcoin,” Newsom, the former San Francisco mayor, said. “If anybody started talking about cryptocurrency, I’d start rolling my eyes and yawning and going, ‘Give me a break.’ Now I find it fascinating. But how the hell do I explain it to anybody?”
Congratulations to early Bitcoin adopter @GavinNewsom on being elected Governor of California!
“I should promote the technology ever so subtly by saying I’ll accept bitcoin in the campaign”. “I’m ready for it”. “But how the hell do I explain it to anybody?” – 2014 pic.twitter.com/4RLGa9BdMf
— Francis Pouliot (@francispouliot_) November 7, 2018
Cryptocurrency advocacy is not restricted to Democrats, of course. The Republican governor of Ohio, Warren Davidson, welcomed tens of industry advocates to a hearing in Washington in September, telling them that their input was “critical”.