The Irish government wants to avoid using BTC and other cryptocurrencies in local elections. For this, the law must prohibit candidates and political parties from receiving donations through these means.
The new proposal was drafted by Darragh O’Brien, the Irish Housing and Heritage Minister, who oversees elections and electoral law. O’Brien convened a task force to recommend laws to maintain electoral integrity, and banning is on the agenda.
As explained by the minister, the law targets Russia and its possible interference in local elections. The example of the US elections in 2016 led the Irish to take protective measures in this regard.
Russian influence on elections
The ministry expresses concern that Russia will eventually launch cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns emanating from Russian-aligned actors. The attitude would be used as a reprisal for the sanctions imposed on the country by the European Union, of which Ireland is a part.
According to O’Brien, the task force began its activities in January, but the opinion was given this month. “There is a comprehensive set of recommendations to build a legal and digital framework against outside interference in our elections,” he said.
In addition to banning cryptocurrency donations, the new rules target donations in other currencies. In this sense, the government intends to tighten the requirements for foreign donations. This would discourage parties from seeking donors outside Ireland.
In the field of digital warfare, the project gives the government power over content published on social networks. That is, demanding that content be removed from platforms, for example.
Example from 2016
The aim of the Irish government is to prevent Russian hackers and intelligence agents from somehow manipulating the elections. In this sense, the USA is a great example. During the 2016 election, Russia was accused of buying Facebook ads and manipulating data in support of Donald Trump’s candidacy, who would go on to win the election.
According to the US intelligence community – which includes the CIA, FBI and 15 other agencies – a government-funded media operation was “the Kremlin’s main international propaganda outlet”.
The main defendant in this case is RT America, Russia’s government agency focused exclusively on the campaign. The US even accuses cryptocurrency influencers, as RT America reportedly financed “The Keiser Report”, presented by BTC maximalist Max Keiser.
Therefore, Keizer is pointed out as part of a fake news campaign run by President Vladimir Putin. However, authorities have not found evidence of Keiser’s involvement, which is just speculation.