Minnesota Senator to Spearhead Bitcoin Public Awareness Effort

Tanaya Macheel
Jun 23, 2014 at 23:00 UTC
Updated Jun 24, 2014 at 09:19 UTC

A Minnesota senator is leading the latest effort to bring bitcoin and its benefits to the global public through a new bitcoin-focused non-profit called yesbitcoin.

Described as a consumer-facing organization with worldwide ambitions, yesbitcoin has announced a strategic communications effort aimed at advancing bitcoin through advertising and merchant-adoption efforts.

Republican Senator Branden Petersen, the Executive Director and founder of yesbitcoin, spoke to CoinDesk about how his organisation aims to achieve this goal.

In the interview, Petersen compared the program to American Express commercials – but for bitcoin:

“We’re communicating in laypersons’ nomenclature which has been difficult for business owners to do in a way that conveys the real value that bitcoin has and the way that it can make everybody’s life better.”

Petersen went on to state that, while the decentralized nature of bitcoin has a lot of benefits, it presents a “unique communications challenge” to those looking to popularize it with global consumers.

Yesbitcoin, he said, aims to fill that void, becoming the “community conduit for consumer-facing communications in general”.

Petersen has been in the Minnesota Senate since 2012 and represents District 35, the northwest Anoka County region. Education policy reform and citizen data privacy protections are among his legislative accomplishments.

Emphasizing education

Bitcoin evangelists often say that the biggest challenge to bitcoin adoption is educational in nature – a belief that can be seen even in the actions of the ecosystem’s major businesses. For example, BitPay made the decision last week to brand the NCAA playoff football game it will sponsor as the ‘Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl’, forgoing using its own name in the title.

Bitcoin has seen similar initiatives in the political sphere, with Falcon Global Capital recently hiring lobbyists to advocate for bitcoin on Capitol Hill.

This activity is encouraging to Petersen, who sees his own efforts in line with this trend. “The political establishment is behind the marketplace on all things bitcoin,” he said. “It’s been somewhat encouraging to see some champions out there.”

Bitcoin in US politics

The news of Petersen’s involvement in the bitcoin ecosystem comes at a time when a number of current, former and aspiring US politicians have come out in favor of bitcoin, either through public endorsement or by accepting BTC for campaign donations.

Current US Congressman Jared Polis recently spoke at length to CoinDesk about his enthusiasm for bitcoin and digital currencies, suggesting he will look to block any uninformed policies while he remains in Washington DC.

For more on Polis and his stance on bitcoin, read our most recent interview.

Image via Minnesota Senate