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The Dutch Electoral Council reportedly rejected a payment in Bitcoin from the country’s Pirate Party to participate in upcoming elections. But that won’t stop the ‘Pirates’ from using the digital currency to fight the power.
The Pirate Party is an international movement represented in more than forty countries. There is a ‘Pirate’, as party members call each other, in the European Parliament and ten seats in the national parliament of Iceland. ‘Pirates’ have been elected in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, as well. It’s also a party with largely positive attitudes towards Bitcoin.
Also Read: On Decentralization and Network Societies
Dutch Election Council Rebuffs Pirate Party Bitcoin Payment
Many Pirate Party supporters donate Bitcoin (the party also accepts another cryptocurrency, a local Dutch cryptocoin named Gulden of Guilder). The Pirate Party Netherlands recently attempted to pay the country’s Electoral Council with bitcoins. The Election Council rejected the bitcoins, and the Pirate Party had to first send the coins to an exchange and pay the fee in euros.
“The party wanted to pay the 11,250 euro deposit at the Electoral Council in bitcoins, but this kind of digital currency is not accepted by the government,” Ancilla van de Leest told Bitcoin.com. The Party converted the digital currency into euros.
Over the years, the Party’s cryptocurrency holdings have “added up,” she said. “When we needed a big chunk of money to take part in the elections, it just made sense. We quite enjoyed the opportunity to make a statement with it.”
The Pirate Party Netherlands debates regularly what to do with its bitcoin holdings. “We wanted to put our bitcoin to good use,” Ms. Van de Leest explains. “So we did. It’s not accepted by our government, so we exchanged it to euros and paid with those. What matters to us is that bitcoin was donated to help us gain seats, and we’re using it for exactly that: to pay for entry into the elections.”
The Pirate Party and Bitcoin share similarities. “Not only our digital roots, but also how our communities view the world and organize themselves,” Pirate Party Netherlands top candidate for Parliament says. “At the same time we see fundamental flaws with the current economic system that are absent with Bitcoin. The old economic structures are set up to be non-transparent by design and there is what’s called quantitative easing to patch over its flaws. That’s value created out of thin air and given to a selected few by those in power. It’s the same ‘money’ everybody else has to work for.” Naturally, the ‘Pirates’ share a deep distrust of the banking system with Bitcoiners.
“Backed Only By a False Sense of Security”
“Central banks are not managing their issued money in a way that contributes to society as a whole,” Ms. Van de Leest, who once appeared on the cover of Dutch Playboy, opined. “One could argue the way they do their business is criminal. In addition, most issued money in the world is actually someone else’s debt and backed only by a false sense of security. When people are losing faith in their money, they are losing faith in its issuers: the central banks. This would have devastating consequences for everyone.” Pirates supports the idea of diversifying away from banks with Bitcoin.
“It puts in practice everything we strive for: decentralization of power, accountability, transparency and room for organic growth and permissionless innovation in the best ways possible,” says Ms. Van de Leest .“That the underlying code is transparent and community maintained increases its trustworthiness. That Satoshi Nakamoto has remained anonymous is very much in line with our efforts to protect those who challenge the system, such as whistleblowers.”
The financial blockade of Wikileaks donations and other such occurrences are fresh on ‘Pirates’ minds. “Money is a politically loaded subject in itself,” Ms. Van de Leest explains. “We think that future starts today and includes Bitcoin paving the way for whatever may come to join it’s path. Our internal debate is only about the number and diversity of the cryptocurrencies we accept.” Accepting bitcoin was an easy choice for the party.
“Both Bitcoin and the Pirate Party are about taking control away from the middlemen and from concentrations of power,” she says. “We have used bitcoin to pay for other things directly in the past and will continue to do so in the future.”
The party even gives reimbursements in the cryptocurrency.
“Just the other day we had to reimburse one of our volunteers,” Ms. Van de Leest recalls. “He paid for our posters and flyers and asked for bitcoin instead of euros. We happily obliged.”
“Empower the People”
“We want to empower the people to make decisions as locally as possible,” Ms. Van de Leest says. “Wherever there’s a power concentration, transparency and accountability are what keep it in check. The more power, the more transparency is required. We strive to decentralize power away from companies and the government.” The Pirate Party has been celebrated by many for its stances in regards to the the digital world.
“We’re the only political party that understands the impact that the digital world and developments, like robotization and autonomous cars, will have on society and our civil rights,” she says. “The Pirate Party came from the internet, so our fundamentals are structured around a digital world. Human and Civil rights are our top priority, sadly.”
Does the Pirate Party have your vote? Let us know in the comments below…
Images courtesy of Pirate Party Netherlands, Shutterstock
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