Trump campaign starts taking cryptocurrency donations

Politics

Former US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event at the Waukesha Expo Center in Waukesha, Wisconsin, US, on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. 

Daniel Steinle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The Trump campaign announced Tuesday it will start accepting cryptocurrency donations, casting the move as one of solidarity with opponents of “socialistic government control” over the U.S. financial markets.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump can donate using “any cryptocurrency accepted through the Coinbase Commerce product,” his campaign said in a press release.

The announcement ties President Joe Biden, who is running for reelection against Trump, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., a vocal crypto critic who has pushed to clamp down on the nascent industry.

“Biden surrogate Elizabeth Warren said in an attack on cryptocurrency that she was building an ‘anti-crypto army’ to restrict Americans’ right to make their own financial choices,” the campaign said, referring to a reelection ad Warren posted on X in March 2023.

“MAGA supporters, now with a new cryptocurrency option, will build a crypto army moving the campaign to victory on November 5th!” the campaign said.

The move opens a new source of potential funds for the Trump campaign, which still lags Biden in cash on hand even as it outraised the Democratic incumbent in April.

Crypto donations will be reported as in-kind contributions, much like gifts of stock. The campaign can then decide to either liquidate the digital currency or hang on to it.

“Contribution limits and disclosure requirements for crypto donations will follow Federal Election Commission regulations,” the Trump campaign said.

The acceptance of crypto is just the latest in a string of Trump efforts to court the crypto community, which tends to skew younger and more male, according to April 2023 polling from Pew Research Center.

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In December, Trump sold a limited run of NFT trading cards that could be bought with cryptocurrency, for instance.

Earlier this month, he hosted a ritzy dinner for his NFT backers at the Mar-a-Lago club.

There, Trump told crypto supporters that they “better vote” for him, because the Biden administration is “against” crypto, Politico reported.

Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, has mirrored his administration’s skepticism toward cryptocurrency and its leaders.

Hours before the Trump campaign started catering to crypto donors, Biden’s team sent a fundraising text warning supporters that “cryptocurrency executives and oil barons are coming out of the woodwork for Trump.”

The Biden campaign did not immediately respond when CNBC asked for its views on accepting crypto donations.

Tuesday’s announcement from the Trump campaign billed Trump as the “first major party nominee” to embrace crypto donations. But Trump is not the official nominee until July.

And he is not the first presidential candidate to accept cryptocurrency donations.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is mounting a longshot independent presidential bid, announced in May 2023 that his campaign would accept bitcoin donations. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., took in bitcoin donations for his own presidential campaign in 2015.

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