U.S. Senate candidate Austin Petersen has begun accepting campaign donations made with bitcoin.
The Missouri native, who hopes to win the Republican primary and the chance to face off against incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill, made the announcement on his social media accounts and posted a link to his campaign’s BitPay donation page.
— Austin Petersen (@AP4Liberty) September 8, 2017
The Missouri race is currently viewed as a toss-up. McCaskill successfully won re-election in 2012, but President Trump carried the state by a 19% margin during the 2016 election. Consequently, many Republican leaders view it as an opportunity to secure their slim majority in the Senate.
However, Austin Petersen is considered a dark horse in the potentially-crowded race for the Republican nomination. He has not held public office before, having spent most of his professional life in political activism and digital media. The GOP establishment has encouraged major donors to support Josh Hawley, the state’s attorney general, when and if he officially enters the primary.
That said, Petersen has experience on the political stage. He finished second in the 2016 presidential primary for the Libertarian Party, losing out to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. Notably, Petersen finished ahead of John McAfee of MGT Capital, which has launched a multi-million dollar cryptocurrency mining operation.
Petersen has since changed his party affiliation to Republican, making him part of the “conservatarian” wing of the party that includes Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY).
Speaking to CCN, Petersen stated:
Bitcoin’s disruptive influence is just what our financial system needs at this time. For too long, the federal government has had exclusive control over currency, stymying competition and growth by falsely limiting consumer choice — a fact we would all be aware of were the Federal Reserve subject to the same kind of audits privately-held companies are. Cryptocurrency represents the future of American creativity and American liberty, and I’m delighted to accept campaign donations in this form.
If Petersen does defy the odds to win the GOP nomination and unseat Sen. McCaskill, his decision to accept bitcoin donations makes it likely he would prove friendly to the cryptocurrency community. This would be important if the Cryptocurrency Tax Fairness Act, proposed by the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, passes the House of Representatives and reaches a vote in the Senate. Moreover, Petersen is a staunch supporter of limited government, making him less likely to support heavy-handed regulations on cryptocurrency.
Featured image from Flickr/Gage Skidmore.