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New York Politicos Race to Support Bitcoin

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:45 PM
George Donnelly
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:45 PM

Melanie Dumers Three upstate New York politicians say they’re proud to be associated with Bitcoin as Bethlehem Town Clerk candidate Melanie Dumers (R, C – Bethlehem) and Stillwater Town Council candidate Patrick Nelson (D, T – Stillwater) join Troy, NY mayoral candidate Jim Gordon (R, C, I, RE, G – Troy) in accepting Bitcoin campaign donations.

All three candidates are critical of the controversial New York State BitLicense. Two are new, but enthusiastic, Bitcoin supporters and all are ready to integrate Bitcoin acceptance or block chain technology into their local governments.

“I’ve been following Bitcoin for years,” Nelson said in an exclusive CCN.com interview, “and it really wasn’t a second thought that when I decided to run that we would accept bitcoin donations.”

BitLicense “Anti-Small-Business,” says Dumers

Dumers, a BitPay customer who is against the BitLicense, said in an exclusive CCN.com interview that she wants “to be on top of the most innovative technology” and appreciates the security  and low fees offered by Bitcoin, relative to PayPal.

Gordon concurs with Dumers’s position on the BitLicense and laments New York state’s loss of small companies due to the early regulatory framework. Nelson takes a more moderate position in favor of regulation but is, likewise, critical of the BitLicense, telling CCN.com that “it fails greatly to strike the proper balance and instead raises the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs.”

[Bitcoin] is well in line with the principles of federalism and checks and balances that underlie the American system of government,” said Nelson, a Coinbase customer. “The blockchain and bitcoin are poised to do for the transfer of value, what the internet did for the transfer of information.

Blockchain Tech for Local Governments

Dumers would like to see the Town Clerk’s office use blockchain technology to help keep residents’ personal information secure from cyber attacks.

Bitcoin and the blockchain could go as far as keeping encrypted records of birth certificates and other confidential paperwork on a decentralized network,” said Dumers. “This could change the way recordkeeping is done at a local, state, and federal level.

Gordon takes a more conservative tack on securing residents’ personal information with the blockchain but wants to accept bitcoin for payment of taxes and municipal fees. Nelson is also open to this idea for his town of Stillwater.

Still in the Early Stages

None of the candidates expect campaign finance reporting complications despite the fact that the state Board of Elections has yet to take a position on the use of Bitcoin in politics.

Dumers is gearing up to make her first bitcoin purchase, Gordon says he made a donation with bitcoin and Nelson regularly spends his coins at local cafes and theaters.

We are still in the very early stages of adoption for digital currencies and the blockchain. It’s very promising to see our younger politicians already embracing the technology and rewarding themselves early on with the benefits of a decentralized payment network – stated Paul Paterakis, a member of the NY Bitcoin Group, who is representing the candidates in the Bitcoin space.

Photos courtesy Melanie Dumers for Bethlehem Town Clerk and Patrick Nelson.