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Trump campaign says it will begin accepting cryptocurrency contributions

Donald Trump (Michael M. Santiago/Pool Photo via AP)
Donald Trump (Michael M. Santiago/Pool Photo via AP)

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has said it will begin accepting donations in cryptocurrency as part of an effort to build what it calls a “crypto army” leading up to Election Day.

The Trump campaign launched a fundraising page that allows “any federally permissible donor the ability to give” to its political committees using any crypto asset accepted through the Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange.

The announcement promotes his message that he is a crypto-friendly candidate, and also appeals to a core group of young male voters who are increasingly likely to dabble in digital assets.

Cryptocurrencies are a digital asset that can be traded over the internet without relying on the global banking system.

Mr Trump’s campaign is accepting a range of popular cryptocurrencies that include Bitcoin, Ether and US Dollar Coin, and also the low-value coins that tend to be popular with internet personalities like Shiba Inu Coin and Dogecoin.

Billionaire Elon Musk, most notably, is considered a fan of the latter two, traded on markets as DOGE and SHIB.

It is not clear whether the Trump campaign will hold on to the crypto or will immediately sell it, and what sort of fees it may pay to liquidate.

While the campaign says it plans to follow US election laws, the anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies can make it tricky to confirm the funds are coming from who they say they are.

Mr Trump has already received millions in cryptocurrency personally through his Trump Digital Trading Cards non-fungible token projects and his Maga coin, released last August.

Julia Krieger, a spokeswoman for Coinbase, told the Associated Press that “crypto is non-partisan and moves money forward because it’s cheaper and faster”, adding that the Coinbase platform is open to all candidates this election season.

While some states do not allow cryptocurrency donations in state races under existing campaign finance laws, the Federal Election Commission does allow committees to receive Bitcoin as contributions.

A 2014 advisory opinion issued by the commission concluded that Bitcoin is “money or anything of value” within the meaning of the law and political committees should value the contribution based on the market value of Bitcoin at the time the contribution is received.

The presidential campaign for independent candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr accepts Bitcoin donations.

In conventional money, Mr Biden and the Democratic National Committee said on Monday that they raised more than 51 million dollars in April, falling well short of the 76 million dollars that Mr Trump and the Republican Party reported.