Technology

Ireland Preparing to Ban Bitcoin Donations Over Russia Election Interference Fears

Ireland’s Ministry for Housing, Local Government and Heritage is drafting rules that would ban political parties from accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as donations. Local Government Minister Darragh O’Brien, who oversees elections and voting reform, put together a task force in January to recommend laws to maintain electoral integrity. Of specific concern was shielding the country from cyber attacks and disinformation emanating from Russia-aligned actors. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine did nothing to lessen the country’s worries. According to O’Brien, the taskforce provided a “comprehensive set of recommendations to build a legal and digital bulwark against malign interference in our elections.” In addition to prohibiting cryptocurrency donations, the amended rules—enforced by a newly created Electoral Commission—will tighten requirements for foreign donations and give the government the power to demand that content be removed from social media platforms.

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