Ireland bans political crypto donations on foreign interference fears

Ireland bans political crypto donations on foreign interference fears

New political integrity laws in Ireland will ban donations to political parties that use cryptocurrencies. This is due to concerns about foreign interference in politics.

Minister Darragh O’Brien proposed amendments to cover foreign donations, misinformation and other transparency requirements for parties. This was in response to concerns about Russian interference in Ireland’s election.

O’Brien spoke to the Independent on April 18th and stated that the laws would further protect Ireland’s democracy “given cyber warfare targeting countries free of threat.” A newly created Electoral Commission will ensure compliance with the laws.

It is not clear what amount or percentage of political donations are currently made to individuals or political parties using cryptocurrency. Cointelegraph reached out to Minister O’Brien of the Standards In Public Office Commission, but was not immediately able to get a response.

O’Brien began his campaign to reform laws in January 2022. He established a task force consisting of legal and political experts to examine new election laws. This was due to concern about the growing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The task force recommended a number of measures to create a “legal- and digital bulwark against election interference in the country,” including parties providing simplified accounting reporting and declarations about adherence to new political funding laws.

It is not uncommon for crypto political donations to be banned. In 2018, California banned it due to transparency issues and because cryptocurrencies can be difficult to track. According to Multistate data, three other states in the United States, Oregon, Michigan and North Carolina also prohibit cryptocurrency use in campaign financing.

Related: Since January, a crypto-focused PAC spent $9M to support Democratic candidate candidates

In the past, the Irish central bank has been hostile to crypto. As recently as February, the bank said that it would not approve investment funds that are exposed to crypto for retail investors. This was because they lack the “high level of expertise”.

The Central Bank of Ireland issued another warning to consumers on crypto assets the month after, reminding them of “the risk of misleading advertisements, especially on social media where influencers have been paid to advertise crypto assets.”

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