A few days ago, CCN.com reported that the North Carolina State Board of Elections Campaign Finance Office rejected an application to permit candidates accept campaign donation in bitcoin.
Emmanuel Wilder, the Republican state legislature candidate and Systems Analyst who submitted the unsuccessful application sat down with CCN.com to give his opinion about the decision and share some of his thoughts on the wider cryptocurrency, blockchain and tech industry.
CCN.com: The North Carolina Board of Elections recently refused your request to accept campaign donations in bitcoin. What factors do you think influenced the board’s decision, and do you see the decision changing at some point in the future?
I think the anonymity of the transaction was definitely an area of concern for the board, but that is the the strength of the security of the blockchain. At some point this will change. Every month we see blockchain technologies forking and maturing, but we have to have a partner in government to make sure that these technologies have the space needed to grow.
CCN.com: If you had been granted permission to receive bitcoin donations, what impact would this have had on your campaign? Roughly how large is the potential for raising bitcoin campaign funds in this particular race?
I believe that would have had a significant impact. Fundraising is a significant part of running for office. So its ability in impact an election is there.
CCN.com: Prior to the campaign, did you have an existing interest in the topic of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, or did your campaign research identify it as a key area of interest among your supporters?
So funny story, in 2011 I remember sitting in the East Carolina University Computer Science Lab after finishing a group project. We were talking about bitcoin and mining. I remember saying at that point, being ignorant of the true benefits of blockchain at the time, that I didn’t really see this going anywhere. How wrong I was. Over the last 2 year really understanding the benefits of the blockchain and how it could revolutionize every industry. For me this is bigger than crypto, its about looking at how different applications of the blockchain can revolutionize various industries.
CCN.com: Let’s talk a bit about your campaign. You have spoken about the need for the next generation to be equipped with skills for a 21st century economy such as coding. Do bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fit into this vision for the future, and if so, how?
Absolutely, when you look at most industries and the services that they provide we see a lot of SaaS. With virtually every industry running on some platform, these platforms will need to be maintained, serviced, and improved. These will provide job opportunities for years to come. As these industries move to utilizing the blockchain for their designed needs they will those to help innovate and maintain.
CCN.com: Cryptocurrencies, rightly or wrongly are still viewed with a substantial amount of hesitance and suspicion by governments and regulators across America. In your opinion, what should the crypto industry and crypto communities be doing in order to challenge negative perceptions and get regulators to buy into the promise of cryptocurrencies?
New things are scary to people, and people [are] generally resistant to change. The greatest thing that the industry can do to help is to educate. There is a wealth of misinformation about the industry and that is can only corrected with education. There is a lot use cases that the blockchain can show how it can positively impact peoples lives. This is the message that can really resonate with the public.
CCN.com: If your campaign is successful, do you intend to use your platform to push for increased acceptance of cryptocurrencies by American regulators and authorities?
There will be a push to start investigating how we can use the various blockchain platforms to improve people’s lives. One of the things to remember is that it is important to have people in legislative positions that understand blockchain and cryptocurrencies. We want these people to be there to help shape this legislation.
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