If your local politician starts soliciting donations in Bitcoins, don't be surprised: the US Federal Election Commission just approved the cryptocurrency for political contributions. Now, politicians and political action committees (PACs) can accept Bitcoin, so long as donors list their names, addresses, occupations and confirm that they own the coins they're sending over. Recipients can't spend those contributions as Bitcoin, though: they first have to convert the money into US dollars and then deposit everything with the rest of their campaign funds. If the cryptocurrency donations aren't instantly converted through a payment service, the recipients will have to declare their value based on the day's exchange rates... and we all know how quickly those rates can fluctuate.
Wondering why the FEC considered recognizing Bitcoin donations in the first place? That's because it was specifically requested by a PAC called Make Your Laws. The FEC's yet to iron out the details, though, and while one commissioner claims there's a $100 limit per donor per election, Chairman Lee Goodman says otherwise. The FEC head says the group actually classifies Bitcoins as in-kind donations, similar to works of art. If that's indeed the case, you can spend up to $2,600 per politician and up to $5,000 per PAC of your choice for every election instead of just a hundred bucks.