Mathias Sundin, deputy mayor of Norrköping in Eastern Sweden, has won his bid to join Sweden’s 349-member Parliament while only receiving donations in the growing global digital currency, Bitcoin. He left an understated Tweet on his Twitter account this afternoon, confirming his election to Sweden’s Parliament, simply stating “I’m in!”.
The actual election occurred on September 14th, and now the votes have been tallied and confirmed officially since then. The Swedish Parliament is similar to the House of Representatives in the United States.
Swedish Bitcoin Politician Wins Seat in Parliament
The 36 year-old Dundin said in his blog previously about his campaign funding “If you want to support my campaign, you can’t give me dollars, euros or Swedish kronor, you must donate in bitcoins.” Now that he is “in office”, he can work on living up to his campaign promises from over the summer. “(I will) resist knee-jerk regulation of bitcoin, other digital currencies, and disruptive innovation in general. Continue the education reforms in Sweden. Help develop a tax system that promotes fast growing, innovating companies. Defend your right to privacy.”
This officially makes Sundin the first successful Bitcoin candidate worldwide to reach a known centralized political office. It also appears that he is the first candidate to run solely on Bitcoin as a way to fund the campaign. Many candidates have elected to receive Bitcoin as a donation in the United States, the largest market for Bitcoin currency trading (along with China). These include Adrian Wylie for Governor, Lucas Overby for Congress, Chris Holbrook for Governor, Greg Abbott for Governor as candidates who are accepting Bitcoin on their campaign website. Sundin explained:
‟At first, I only saw the negative headlines about Bitcoin and thought it was some sort of unserious speculation bubble. Then I read up on it and understood that it has the potential to change the world. And when I realized I could order pizza and pay in Bitcoin, then I was all for it!”
Bitcoin Donations: Sweden vs. America
In America, the FEC (Federal Election Commission) ruled in February of this year that United States politicians can accept Bitcoins for donations. Politicians must convert the Bitcoins into dollars within three days. The donor lists their name, address (Physical address) and occupation when they make a donation. In Sweden, the rules for political donation amounts are as follows: The highest amount for natural persons (regular people) is the equivalent of 20,000 SEK (Sweden’s national currency is known as the Swedish Krona, or SEK). This converts into about 4.70 BTC, 2,900 U.S. dollars, or 2,150 euro. The maximum allowed amount for juridical persons (an organization, a company, etc.) is the equivalent of 10,000 SEK. This converts to about 2.35 BTC, 1,450 U.S. dollars, or 1,085 euro. Thus the amount of Bitcoin must conform to these limits.
Considering the amount of money needed to run for offices like Governor, Bitcoin wouldn’t make a strong campaign funding tool in the U.S. this fall. You might expect mid-term elections in 2018 to have plenty of House of Representative candidates heading for office on the Bitcoin ticket, especially with Mathias Sundin providing a template on how to do so successfully.
Photos provided by Twitter and Wikipedia.org; other images from Shutterstock.