Capitol Alert

Newsom’s bitcoin foray draws deceivers

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s bold experiment in accepting campaign contributions via bitcoin has generated its own set of disruptors.

Newsom – a booster of the state’s high-tech sectors – said he began taking bitcoin to persuade regulators to sign off on the virtual currency. “You know me, I tend to lean (into) things. And (I) am happy to take some arrows,” Newsom said in a recent interview with LinkedIn’s Mike Kim.

But mixed among the dozens of bitcoin donations received so far were some duds, Newsom explained.

“Some people have been sending ‘Joe Schmo’... fake names with 123 Main Street addresses, and trying to trip us up,” he said, calling the trend a concern.

The law holds donors legally accountable for accurately representing themselves, and his campaign has taken all of the necessary steps to vet their claims, Newsom said. To deal with currency fluctuations, he said the campaign immediately converts bitcoin to dollars.

“It’s fun ’cause it’s new,” he said. “And it could be the most enlivening and disruptive technology.”