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Author Topic: EFF no longer accepting Bitcoin  (Read 7502 times)
Jaime Frontero
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June 21, 2011, 06:59:01 AM
 #1

here is a link to their full statement:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/06/eff-and-bitcoin

Quote
1. We don't fully understand the complex legal issues involved with creating a new currency system. Bitcoin raises untested legal concerns related to securities law, the Stamp Payments Act, tax evasion, consumer protection and money laundering, among others. And that’s just in the U.S. While EFF is often the defender of people ensnared in legal issues arising from new technologies, we try very hard to keep EFF from becoming the actual subject of those fights or issues. Since there is no caselaw on this topic, and the legal implications are still very unclear, we worry that our acceptance of Bitcoins may move us into the possible subject role.

[emphasis mine]

from their perspective it makes sense i suppose.

under the circumstances, i was pleased to see no mention of instability or suchlike.

still, a pity.
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wegotpickles
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June 21, 2011, 08:03:16 AM
 #2

I sort of feel like these legal issues are something they should have looked into or thought about BEFORE accepting donations in a (at the time) little known e-currency.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the entire point of EFF to aid individuals in technology related legal battles? So isn't being aware of what is and isn't legal in relation to the digital world a key factor in their existence?

I doubt they would stop accepting donations due to instability, as its free money for them regardless of if its $30, $19 or $0.01.

Something about this doesn't sit right with me and i cant put my finger on what it is. Maybe they sense a storm coming... or maybe they don't feel like paying one of their employees to figure out how to use an exchange.

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June 21, 2011, 08:10:39 AM
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I think it's a sensible stance. Anything a lawyer can say about the legality of alternate currencies is a guess until cases start to go through the courts.

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Jaime Frontero
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June 21, 2011, 08:21:24 AM
 #4


Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the entire point of EFF to aid individuals in technology related legal battles? So isn't being aware of what is and isn't legal in relation to the digital world a key factor in their existence?


well, ok.

yes, that is their point - but lawyers don't defend themselves.  "fool for a lawyer", and all that.

perhaps - being a donation-funded organization - they can't afford any lawyers as good as they'd like to have.  and if they needed a lawyer they'd probably have difficulty finding one who knew as much about the internet as they do, at any price.

but oh boy, will i be pissed if they don't take on any Bitcoin cases.
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June 21, 2011, 08:38:38 AM
 #5

Every opinion against Bitcoin so far involves Argumentum ad Ignorantiam.

Any significantly advanced cryptocurrency is indistinguishable from Ponzi Tulips.
hamdi
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June 21, 2011, 08:54:27 AM
 #6

getting a bitcoin from someone is like getting a free snickers... where is the problem?

Phil21
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June 21, 2011, 08:57:38 AM
 #7

I read this much more as "we feel we'll likely be representing someone in a bitcoin related case in the future, so we want to remove any form of possible interpretation of impropriety by accepting them at this time"
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June 21, 2011, 09:03:28 AM
 #8

getting a bitcoin from someone is like getting a free snickers... where is the problem?
Yeah, but no one would try to accuse you of running a money laundering scheme involving trading candy...bars... I'll be back later, I have an idea i need to look into.

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June 21, 2011, 09:06:44 AM
 #9

They eat with politicians. Stay away.

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June 21, 2011, 09:21:48 AM
 #10

I felt really let down by them, but let's hope there's something to the "we'll defend someone with bitcoins and don't want to seem biased" argument.
Epinnoia
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June 21, 2011, 09:59:18 AM
 #11

Quote
During the 19th century, there were many shortages of small denomination U.S. coins, due to hoarding of coins worth more than their face value (thanks to inflation), so many firms issued private currencies.

To discourage further circulation of these small denomination coins, congress passed the Stamp Payments Act, Section 2 states the following:

Quote
Whoever makes, issues, circulates, or pays out any note, check, memorandum, token, or other obligation for a less sum than $1, intended to circulate as money or to be received or issued in lieu of lawful money of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

Now one could interpret "intended to circulate as money" as applicable to bitcoin usage, but because the authors might not have envisioned digital monies, and congressional amendments to the act (as late as 1994) did not include "electronic cash or coins", there is an argument that congress did not intended the law to apply to non-physical currency.

http://www.quora.com/Is-Bitcoin-legal




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June 21, 2011, 10:04:01 AM
 #12

... let's hope there's something to the "we'll defend someone with bitcoins and don't want to seem biased" argument.
If that were their argument, the EFF would need to stop using the internet too. After all, they defend people for their use of the internet, and they wouldn't want to seem biased!
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June 21, 2011, 10:06:05 AM
 #13

I find their motivation a bit nonsense...

"not understand the legal issues"? Ewh, we send you "bitcoin" and you sell them for $, it's like we send you gold and you sell it, no difference.

As for the "we don't want to represent bitcoin" make even less sense for me...

I think the truth is either they don't really know what "bitcoin" is and well instead of study better what it is decided to simply drop it "just to be sure" (and this make me think a lot about their "organization") or there is something else behind that....
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June 21, 2011, 10:08:05 AM
 #14

I think it's a sensible stance. Anything a lawyer can say about the legality of alternate currencies is a guess until cases start to go through the courts.

A sensible stance for a risk averse coward of an org. I guess that is EFF now... :/

EDIT: Also, why the need to exchange? Keep them and use them as currency in and of themselves when services they need can be compensated in bitcoin. Throwing them in the faucet when they were donated in good faith is just disrespectful. [Letting them "circulate in the community" is better than nothing yet still disappointing. Run a Tor node on bitcoin server, anything instead of dismissing them whole.]
Epinnoia
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June 21, 2011, 10:11:33 AM
 #15

Quote
Because of this, we’re giving the Bitcoins that have been accumulated, or that may accumulate in the future, in the account set up in our name to the Bitcoin faucet, so that they can continue to circulate in the community

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/06/eff-and-bitcoin

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June 21, 2011, 10:16:20 AM
 #16

They stopped accepting bitcoins because there aren't big donations involved.
It doesn't make sense to defend those 50 coins when legal trouble comes.

But if they had a 500k donations, it might be different.

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June 21, 2011, 10:19:20 AM
 #17

Yea well with 500k we can start defending ourself  Cheesy
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June 21, 2011, 10:23:16 AM
 #18

Yea well with 500k we can start defending ourself  Cheesy

more likely getting haked and become defenseless lol

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June 21, 2011, 10:38:03 AM
 #19

Having been a fan of the EFF in the past, this decision doesn't come as much of a surprise but is still disappointing. Their listed arguments are specious at best, and as one poster put it, A sensible stance for a risk averse coward of an org

The main argument for their lack of support is the lack of existing case law regarding bitcoin... what? ? So basically because a court hasn't ruled on the status of bitcoin they wont touch it. As if we need permission from our overlords before doing anything new.

EFF sites concerns about tax evasion and money laundering... but how is this really specific to bitcoin? I bet there are more tax evaders holding US dollars than there are bitcoin users total.

As another poster pointed out, EFF doesn't have to exchange the coins for dollars. They could circulate them.

Finally, this idea of endorsement... EFF still takes USD for donations, does that mean they endorse investing in t-bills?


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