Political action committee BitPAC set to launch an ICO to support US congress candidates

BitPAC, a political action committee, is conducting an initial coin offering (ICO) to expand its candidate supporting program, according to CoinDesk.

BitPAC, a political action committee, is conducting an initial coin offering (ICO) to expand its candidate supporting program, according to CoinDesk.

Speaking with the news outlet, BitPAC Founder Dan Backer revealed that the committee will issue “political” tokens, called Politicoin, which will be a utility token. He stressed that it will not function as a store of value but will provide token holders with “some sort of voting rights” instead.

It’s a utility token, not a thing of value. I don’t care if people want to buy, sell trade their token, if exchange wants to list it that’s fantastic. We have some larger scale, grand or long-term plans but we have to start somewhere.”

He also emphasized that while BitPAC has its own funds, they want to do an ICO to grant anyone who donates to the PAC with one Politicoin.

Backer said that cash is accepted for donation, but if voters prefer cryptocurrency, then they will have to get in touch with Backer or another team member. This process is necessary to comply with the reporting requirements of the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

He could accept bitcoin, ether and a number of other cryptocurrencies as long as we’re able to identify the contributors and perform the compliance function with respect to FEC reporting requirements,” he said.

Meanwhile, BitPAC initially plans to support one single candidate, Dan Bishop, a senator from North Carolina who is seeking a seat at the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election.

However, in the future, the group plans to establish a platform where FEC-registered voters can support any registered candidates, regardless if they are Republicans or Democrats.

I think it’s important we demonstrate there’s a level of political maturity here,” he noted. “I think it’s going to be interesting to see. Win or lose, we’re going to learn a lot in this process.

In May, Rep. Eric Swalwell has started accepting cryptocurrencies as donations to support his U.S. presidential bid in 2020. A dedicated web page was set up by The White Company to allow his supporters to send six supported cryptos, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Stellar (XLM), Bitcoin SV, and the firm’s native token “White Standard.”

However, he is not the first U.S. presidential candidate to accept crypto-based donations. American entrepreneur Andrew Yang has also been gathering election funds through bitcoin, ether, and other ERC20 cryptos for almost a year now.

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Libra Association’s crypto members remain loyal to the project

Moreover, both Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Union Square Ventures, the two venture capital companies in the Libra Association most closely …

Despite the regulatory uncertainty and some companies considering leaving, many more have expressed interest in joining, a source close to the Libra Association told CoinDesk.

As a result, the Libra Association’s crypto contingent – Coinbase, Xapo, Anchorage and Bison Trails – remains publicly optimistic about the project, CoinDesk reported. Moreover, both Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Union Square Ventures, the two venture capital companies in the Libra Association most closely associated with blockchain investing, confirmed to CoinDesk that they remain committed to the project.

Also, the CEOs of alternative banking company Xapo and blockchain infrastructure startup Bison Trails both confirmed that they are Libra members with no intention of leaving. The only company in the crypto space to give CoinDesk anything short of a categorically affirmative answer was Coinbase.

Most of the narrative surrounding Libra so far has been driven by intense government scrutiny. European Union regulators are reportedly investigating ‘anti-competitive behavior’ related to the project.

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Facebook Taps Ex-Coinbase Exec To Lobby For Libra

The former policy executive of the crypto exchange Coinbase is heading a lobbying firm hired by Facebook to contend with U.S. regulatory issues, …

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The former policy executive of the crypto exchange Coinbase is heading a lobbying firm hired by Facebook to contend with U.S. regulatory issues, Coindesk reported on Tuesday (Aug. 27).

The Washington D.C.-based FS Vector has been retained by Facebook to work on “issues related to blockchain policy.”

FS Vector’s partner John Collins — head of policy at Coinbase from September 2014 to January 2016 — will serve as Facebook’s lobbyist.

The hiring comes at a time that Facebook’s launch of Libra continues to get pushback from lawmakers. The cryptocurrency has a potential release date of 2020, and Facebook said it would be issued and regulated by the Geneva, Switzerland-based “Libra Association.”

U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California, who also heads the House Financial Services Committee, called for a “moratorium” after meeting with Switzerland’s regulators, where Facebook’s Libra Association is headquartered.

Waters said that the Swiss helped her understand the “status, complexity, and magnitude of Facebook’s plans.” In July, Facebook was at a congressional hearing where legislators called the company out over privacy concerns, saying it wasn’t ready to safeguard the financial system, much less individual data.

Also, many of Libra’s early backers are troubled by the intense regulatory scrutiny Libra is facing. This is not the first time that Facebook has hired lobbyists and third-party firms to regulate relations with lawmakers.

The Libra Association, a coalition of 28 members put together by Facebook to help bring the cryptocurrency to fruition, includes Visa, Mastercard, Uber, the subsidiary Calibra and Spotify, among others.

The members all made a non-binding promise to invest at least $10 million. Three anonymous members said they wanted to back out of the venture.

The Libra blockchain-backed cryptocurrency has a lofty aim of connecting the 1.7 billion people around the world without access to a bank account to the world of digital payments at low or no cost.

Libra Association’s Crypto Members Remain Unfazed by Regulatory Backlash

Follow-up reporting by CoinDesk, however, has found that the Libra Association’s crypto contingent – Coinbase, Xapo, Anchorage and Bison Trails …

Since first being announced in June, Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency has drawn the ire of lawmakers and regulators worldwide.

But, according to sources close the Libra Association, that was to be expected.

“We always knew this was something that was going to be hard,” one such source told CoinDesk.

However, some of the project’s founding 28 members – which include Visa, PayPal, Uber and other tech and payments giants – haven’t remained as steadfast in their commitment, according to recent media reports.

The Financial Times reported last week that two unnamed members of the Libra Association were considering pulling out of the project, citing the harsh glare of the “regulatory spotlight.”

Follow-up reporting by CoinDesk, however, has found that the Libra Association’s crypto contingent – Coinbase, Xapo, Anchorage and Bison Trails – remains publicly optimistic about the project.

Unshaken?

Libra’s crypto-native members seem ready to ride this one out.

Both Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and Union Square Ventures – the two venture capital firms in the Libra Association most closely associated with blockchain investing – confirmed to CoinDesk that they remain committed to the project.

The CEOs of alternative banking company Xapo and blockchain infrastructure startup Bison Trails both confirmed that they are Libra members with no intention of leaving.

A spokesperson for custody startup Anchorage wrote to CoinDesk:

“The team believes in the mission of Libra and is proud to be a Founding Member of the Libra Association. They are confident that the Association and its members will work through regulatory concerns and look forward to continued conversations with policymakers.”

The only company in the crypto space to give CoinDesk anything short of a categorically affirmative answer was Coinbase.

A spokesperson wrote: “We remain a member, as announced in June.” (Coinbase declined to further clarify its commitment.)

While some companies may be considering leaving, a source close to the Libra Association told CoinDesk that many more have expressed interest in joining, despite the regulatory uncertainty.

Members pay at least $10 million to join, getting in return a Libra investment token that entitles them to a share of the interest generated by the massive pool of fiat currencies and low-risk assets that back the blockchain’s stablecoin.

A source with knowledge of the matter said Facebook and other Libra Association members are currently working toward ratifying the non-profit’s charter.

Most of the narrative surrounding Libra so far has been driven by intense government scrutiny. The effort’s initial helmsman, David Marcus, was grilled by Congress – twice. European Union regulators are reportedly investigating “anti-competitive behavior” related to the project. Tech giant Huawei has reportedly urged Chinese authorities to create a rival.

Meanwhile, a report from Bloomberg Law suggests the Libra Association may begin a new phase of public messaging. According to the report, an Aug. 26 email from the association’s managing partner, Bertrand Perez, was clear:

“It’s time for us to speak up individually and collectively and build some momentum coming into the end of 2019.”

Zack Seward contributed reporting.

Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures and Brian Armstrong of Coinbase speak at Consensus 2019 (photo via CoinDesk archives)

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Judge Confirms Ruling: Craig Wright to Forfeit 50% of Bitcoin Holdings

In a court document published Tuesday, Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart confirmed that Wright, the self-declared inventor of bitcoin, must forfeit …

A corroborating order has been filed in Craig Wright’s sanctions and contempt hearing.

In a court document published Tuesday, Magistrate Judge Bruce E. Reinhart confirmed that Wright, the self-declared inventor of bitcoin, must forfeit half his crypto mined prior to 2014 to Ira Kleiman as well as half his intellectual property. Additionally, Wright is ordered to pay the attorney’s fees and related expenses incurred in this motion.

The court found Wright had argued in bad faith, perjured himself and admitted false evidence during the motion.

The ongoing trial began in 2018, when Kleiman – the brother of Wright’s late business partner Dave Kleiman – sued for half the bitcoin holdings in the so-called Tulip Trust, alleging that Wright defrauded the family’s estate.

The magistrate said:

“Dr. Wright and David Kleiman entered into a 50/50 partnership to develop Bitcoin intellectual property and to mine bitcoin; (2) any Bitcoin-related intellectual property developed by Dr. Wright prior to David Kleiman’s death was property of the partnership, (3) all bitcoin mined by Dr. Wright prior to David Kleiman’s death (“the partnership’s bitcoin”) was property of the partnership when mined; and (4) Plaintiffs presently retain an ownership interest in the partnership’s bitcoin, and any assets traceable to them.”

Accordingly, Wright’s argument – that the bitcoin is inaccessible due both to his former business partner’s death as well as a complicated encryption mechanism – was found to be in bad faith.

The sanctions are Wright’s alone, Reinhart wrote.

“I find without hesitation that sanctions are not warranted against Dr. Wright’s counsel,” the judge wrote, adding:

“Counsel has zealously and ethically advocated for their client. Counsel has unfailingly been candid with this Court, even when Dr. Wright’s conduct and conflicting statements have created awkward situations for counsel.”

Jason Gottlieb, partner at Morrison Cohen LLP, said the ruling was “atypical” procedurally, and the district judge overseeing the trial may not accept Reinhart’s decision without amendment.

Previously, Wright’s testimony was declared to be “inconsistent” by District Judge Beth Bloom.

Kleiman was represented by Kyle Roche and Velvel Freedman of Roche Freedman LLP, while Wright was represented by Rivero Mestre LLP.

Kleiman must alert Wright of the appropriate costs due to him on or prior to Sept. 20. While this ruling does determine liability, further discovery for the trial may be underway.

Craig Wright image via CoinDesk archives

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