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Bitcoin millionaire puts money on Greens in German elections

BERLIN (AP) – A German software developer who has made a fortune from bitcoin has given the Green Party one of the biggest political donations in the country’s history, hoping to win this year’s general election and consider banning digital currency.

Maurice Schmidt’s € 1 million ($ 1.2 million) donation to the Greens made headlines this month as the party traditionally receives only small sums. Such a great gift is rare in German politics. Parties in the country receive most of their funding from membership fees and state aid for election results.

“I have benefited a lot from the bitcoin bubble. “It was a wild trip, the revenue is really a fortune,” Schmidt told the Associated Press in an e-mail this week. “I was kind of waiting for the opportunity to donate more money.”

A 39-year-old man from the northern city of Greifswald, who had not previously appeared on the list of major political donors, said that in 2011 he bought a bitcoin worth “several thousand euros”, just before the collision, wiping out 90% of the value of his property. Since then, bitcoin և other cryptocurrencies have risen many times ել falling on investors hoping to make a quick profit.

Schmidt, who has been making about 2 million euros selling his bitcoin over the years, said he learned in 2017 that the virtual currency consumes a huge amount of electricity. Although the details are hotly debated by bitcoin fans and experts, experts say the energy needed to create and trade cryptocurrencies is considerable.

“Being an energy pig is built into the bitcoin system,” Schmidt said.

Greens, who are currently high on opinion polls, support a strong environmental policy to prevent greenhouse gas emissions and to prevent the threat of climate change.

Schmidt says he decided to fund more of the Greens’ campaign rather than donate to an environmental project because “giving it to a political party that is environmentally friendly, as its core value will have a much greater impact.”

The Greens on Monday nominated 40-year-old lawmaker Analena Baerbok to replace longtime Conservative leader Angela Merkel in the September 26 election. Although the party does not mention the environmental trace of bitcoin in its program, it wants such currencies to be “traced”, making bitcoin less attractive to many of its fans.

“I do not think the settlement will do anything until the price is lowered to levels that make Bitcoin unattractive as an asset and unusable as a world currency,” Schmidt said. “I believe that, in fact, bitcoin should be banned.”

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