Digital currency advocate Mathias Sundin has become a member of Sweden’s parliament after funding his election campaign solely in bitcoin.
Now, and for the next four years, Sundin will represent the constituents of Östergötland in the parliament, which has 349 members from across the country.
Outlining his political agenda on his blog, Sundin made it clear that he would oppose “knee-jerk regulation” of bitcoin and disruptive technologies in general. Taking the advice ‘put your money where your mouth is’, the politician also made a point of accepting campaign donations solely in bitcoin.
On more wide reaching topics, Sundin promised to back educational reform, defend privacy rights and work toward developing a tax system that promotes innovative, fast-growing companies.
Economies have to keep up with technological advances including bitcoin, he argued, telling CoinDesk:
“An entrepreneur who develops software could potentially reach all these billions of people, and with a simple money transferring system, like bitcoin, he or she will be able to charge for it easier.”
New view forming
Sundin told CoinDesk that he will keep promoting bitcoin in the future, although he is unsure how much backing he will get from fellow MPs.
“It’s hard to say how much support I will get – all the negative headlines about bitcoin have sent the wrong signal about digital currencies, but I also think a new view is forming when you see Dell, maybe eBay, Klarna and others start accepting bitcoin.”
While his focus on bitcoin issues helped get him noticed, Sundin said he doubts that it was his bitcoin advocacy that won him the seat. Rather, it was likely to be linked to his more general policies, he said.
Although his local campaign didn’t cost much to set up, the bitcoin donations Sundin received came from all over the world, “Which I find very positive,” he said.
Sweden’s position on bitcoin
Sundin still believes that more work is necessary to explain the potential of bitcoin. In particular, to persuade banks and other financial organisations that working with bitcoin companies is ultimately a positive thing.
“We have to keep making the Swedish business climate better. We have to lower taxes for entrepreneurs and decrease regulations. There is a stronger and stronger startup scene in Sweden and Stockholm – one of the hottest in the world.”
The country’s regulatory framework is relatively liberal and many suggest it will regulate bitcoin as an asset, in line with most of the EU.
However, for all its popularity in Sweden, bitcoin has not had much of an impact on the local economy.
In a recently published research paper, the Swedish Central Bank found that bitcoin trading volumes in the country were relatively low and concluded that bitcoin did not have “any measurable impact” on the country’s retail payment market or financial stability.