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Bitcoin a winner in the U.S. midterms

Americans went to the polls on November 6 to cast their votes in the mid-term elections. Ultimately, the Democrats won the House, the Republicans held the Senate — and Bitcoin locked in some influential governorships

The pro-bitcoin views held by some incoming political heavyweights is pointing to a win for the cryptocurrency sector in the mid-terms. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) advocacy group Digital Asset Trade Association (DATA) has published a document that rates the crypto-friendliness of the newly elected governors. According to the report, three new governors, as well as two incumbent ones, hold pro-bitcoin and blockchain stances.

California: Gavin Newsom

California’s new Governor, Gavin Newsom, has long been seen as a pro-bitcoin politician. Back in 2014, when he was serving as the Lieutenant Governor of California, Newsom began to accept donations in bitcoin (BTC) for his re-election campaign. Newsom tweeted: "Hey @jaredpolis, thanks for leading the way. My mission? To raise more #bitcoin than you. Game on?"

At the time, Newsom was attempting to show his understated support for the cryptocurrency sector but was quick to raise concern for the complex nature of the technology. He said: "I should promote the technology ever so subtly by saying I’ll accept bitcoin in the campaign. I’m ready for it. But how the hell do I explain it to anybody?

Newsom, who ran as a Democrat and defeated his Republican opponent John Cox by a 57-43 margin, has since solidified his position as a pro-bitcoin lawmaker. He holds pro-technology views and has been vocal in his support of the digitization initiatives of the federal government.

Moreover, as shown in the DATA report, Newsom shows strong support towards policies that would attract blockchain startups to his state. He also believes it is imperative to give legal recognition to blockchain data so that it can be admissible in a court of law. Moreover, Newsom is for the creation of a blockchain committee to facilitate the creation of a conducive environment for the growth of the technology.

Since California is an economic and technological powerhouse, a pro-bitcoin governor may lead to an influx of related investments to the state and startups should expect to see a supportive legal environment with Newsom at the helm.

Colorado: Jared Polis

Jared Polis is the newly elected Governor of Colorado. Polis has long held pro-bitcoin and pro-blockchain views and has been outspoken in his support. Polis was the first U.S. representative to accept bitcoin for campaign contributions. Moreover, Polis co-founded the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, where he also served as co-chair.

Polis’ support of the blockchain and digital currency sector is overt. During his campaign, he stated: "From supply chains to cybersecurity to banking, blockchain-based solutions have the potential to reshape our economy, jobs, cybersecurity, and government transparency. As governor, I will ensure that Colorado explores the potential use of blockchain technology and works alongside the business community, policy experts, local communities, and Coloradans to build a robust economy for the future."

Polis was also working on exempting cryptocurrency transactions from taxes through the Cryptocurrency Tax Fairness Act and has been vocal in urging the US to take a leadership role in the regulation and integration of the cryptocurrency sector.

Polis’ election to the position of governor was received with much excitement across the sector due to his continued progressive views. Advocacy group Coin Central released a statement signifying their support for the newly elected governor saying: "We are […] excited to continue our work with him and the Colorado Blockchain Council to promote sound cryptocurrency policy in the state."

Wyoming: Mark Gordon

Wyoming has built a reputation as one of the most blockchain-friendly states in the country. and has solidified this reputation by electing one of the most blockchain-friendly lawmakers as its governor. All of the eleven boxes used to measure the crypto-friendliness of lawmakers in DATA’s scorecard are checked against Wyoming’s new governor.

Mark Gordon, who will take the reins in Wyoming early next year, is the most crypto-friendly lawmaker according to DATA. The report reveals that Gordon is in support of removing cryptocurrency-related business from state money transmitter regulations as well as the omission of the purchase of cryptocurrencies from state sales taxes.

Moreover, Gordon is against the idea of a state license for cryptocurrency transmission, like the New York BitLicense. He is also against laws that require data to be deleted from databases such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as in the European Union. Both of these laws are seen as somewhat stifling or dangerous to the cryptocurrency sector.

The Incumbents

Rhode Island re-elected Gina Raimondo to its governor’s mansion. While Raimondo maintains a low profile in comparison to Polis, she holds similar opinions with regard to the crypto sector.

DATA’s report shows that Raimondo is in support of awarding cryptocurrency-related business transactions with legal recognition. Moreover, she has expressed her backing for the use of blockchain technology in public programs such as the issuance of food stamps and organizing Medicaid. Interestingly, both of the contenders in the Rhode Island gubernatorial race ranked high in crypto-friendliness with Raimondo’s opponent Allan Fung also scoring highly on DATA’s scorecard.

Texas’ Greg Abbott is also considered to be crypto-friendly. Abbott began accepting donations in bitcoin in 2014. Other governors with good scores on the DATA report are Vermont’s Phil Scott and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker.

It remains to be seen how the cryptocurrency sector will be affected by the wave of supportive legislators. However, if history is anything to go by, support from the political class usually results in conducive legal environments for a technological innovation. Hopefully, this will be the case for the digital currency and blockchain sector.


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