A lot of recent blockchain news has been negative thanks to plummeting Bitcoin values and increased regulation already being enforced in parts of Asia and now under consideration in the European Union. Thankfully, there is a bright spot amidst what has been a rough start to the year for cryptocurrency and its underlying code blockchain.
Although his campaign is not even a year old, fresh faced democratic congressional candidate, Brian Forde, has already espoused blockchain friendly legislation as part of his campaign.
This is his first time running for office, so, who exactly is Brian Forde and what does he even know about blockchain?
Well, quite a bit actually; Forde has significant political and technological credentials. Once the director of digital currency at MIT’s Media Lab, Forde most recently served as a technology adviser during the Barack Obama administration. He has previously volunteered with the Peace Corps in Nicaragua. You can also add cofounder to his list of prestigious titles since Forde helped found the low-cost internet phone service provider Llamadas SA. Similar to how blockchain is currently an emerging technology with an almost Wild West attitude, Forde developed Llamadas SA back when the “tech wasn’t legal or illegal – it was just new” in his own words.
Forde is running as a democrat in California’s 45th District. Although it’s a historically Republican voting district currently represented by a member of the GOP, the district did vote for Clinton by 5 points over Trump in the 2016 election. His tech background will appeal to progressives while fiscally conservative voters will appreciate Forde’s business experience.
Forde’s support of blockchain stems from dual background in fields that thrive on innovation.
“You have to protect consumer rights and consumer safety, but, we also need to allow for innovation. You want to create ‘regulatory sandboxes’ for these emerging technologies to grow. My concern is that when you apply strict regulation to small startups, they’ll be forced to apply so many resources to compliance that they won’t have the resources to build and innovate,” he elaborated on his pro-blockchain platform.
Forde’s high tech candidacy has garnered support from some of the biggest names in the blockchain world such as: Pete Briger of Fortress Investment Group; Brad Burnham of Union Square Ventures; Mike Novogratz, a major cryptocurrency investor; and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, Bitcoin billionaire brothers. Tyler Winklevoss told Bloomberg “Brian understands the power of emerging technologies and how to foster and shape them in a way that has a positive impact on people and organizations.”
With regards to blockchain, Forde has proven that he practices what he preaches in the way he accepts campaign donations.
In addition to vocally supporting loose regulation of cryptocurrency, the candidate accepts campaign contributions in digital tokens! The campaign has received more than $66,000 worth of donations in Bitcoin alone in August and September of 2017.
True to his innovative roots, Forde seems to have inspired other politicians to follow his lead. “A number of members of Congress have asked for my advice about how they can accept Bitcoin as well,” he explained to ABC News.
Forde understands how being ahead of the curve in terms of utilizing new technology for campaign contributions can draw skepticism, but, he explained how it’s been done before to eventually achieve widespread acceptance. “When Howard Dean first accepted credit cards online to fundraise for his campaign, people were skeptical. Four years later, Barack Obama broke fundraising records using the same technology. Bitcoin, and its underlying technology, blockchain, is often described as ‘the next internet.’ We’re proud to join hundreds of thousands of people and companies around the world that accept bitcoin.”
Political candidates who accept campaign donations in the form of Bitcoin may not just be innovative, but, also strategic.
Since newly-rich investors who’ve only recently made their fortunes in the cryptocurrency space are likely to support the emerging technology’s interests domestically, it is wise to solicit their political support.
(To learn more about the expansion of paying for goods and services with cryptocurrency, read Can You Pay Your Attorney with Cryptocurrency?)