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Wisconsin grapples with allowing bitcoin campaign donations

A neon sign hanging in February in the window of Healthy Harvest Indoor Gardening in Hillsboro, Ore., shows that the business accepts bitcoin as payment. The Wisconsin Ethics Commission is considering a policy that would govern political contributions made in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus File)

A neon sign hanging in February in the window of Healthy Harvest Indoor Gardening in Hillsboro, Ore., shows that the business accepts bitcoin as payment. The Wisconsin Ethics Commission is considering a policy that would govern political contributions made in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. (AP File Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin ethics officials are considering making the state among the leaders in welcoming political contributions in bitcoins and other digital currencies, which have gained popularity in recent years.

The federal government, Montana and Washington, D.C., already allow campaign contributions to be made in bitcoins. But most states have been slow to embrace cryptocurrencies because the source of these sorts of donations is untraceable.

Wisconsin Libertarian Party Chairman Phil Anderson urged the Wisconsin Ethics Commission at a hearing on the issue Tuesday to allow bitcoin donations. Anderson said state policy should mirror the Federal Elections Commission guidelines that require bitcoins to be immediately converted to dollars and then reported as an in-kind contribution.

Wisconsin ethics commissioners expressed concerns about how to regulate cryptocurrencies, citing the anonymity of the donations. The commission took no immediate action.

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