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Author Topic: How to make sure Bitcoin will never be banned by governments!  (Read 7006 times)
BitcoinBug
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August 28, 2011, 10:55:05 PM
 #21

It's a good plan, please don't tear it apart!
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wareen
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August 28, 2011, 11:10:12 PM
 #22

Great idea but please do think it through before rushing anything!

We already had a rather unpleasing incident with the EFF (retroactively) deciding not to accept a rather sizable pile of Bitcoin donations - I think we as a community should learn from that experience.

Any such effort should be well coordinated and some things should be clarified beforehand:
  • what happens if the organization does not accept the donation for whatever reason?
  • what happens if the targeted amount is not achieved?
  • how long should we wait to decide these two cases?
  • is the donation paid even if the organization makes some kind of a one-time exception to accept Bitcoin?
  • what happens if the donated fund is suddenly worth much more than the targeted amount?

I think this should be done in form of a well formulated proposal on a separate website with giving users the possibility to register by name (for possible tax-deduction) and maybe specify modalities what should be done with his/her money in case the primary goal of the fund cannot be reached. Anonymous donations should of course be possible as well!

It would also be good to clarify some regulatory questions (eg. taxes and accounting wrt. Bitcoin donations) - it would lower the barrier for organizations to accept the donation and for donors to participate in the fund.

As for the exact setup of such a fund there are a few possibilities. One would be to list a few renowned organizations and promise all the money to the first of them that lists Bitcoin as an official way to donate on their usual donation page (for an extended period of time).

Another way would be to split the fund between more organizations - maybe even letting registered donors influence the percentages...

Linking humanitarian donations to demands (in this case: advertising/good publicity for Bitcoin) is always a bit of a shady thing but it is very common nonetheless, albeit usually in a somewhat more discrete fashion. I think the organizations should be contacted beforehand if they would potentially approve of the basic intent of this fund in order to minimize the risk of disappointment and also to maybe get valuable recommendations for the whole procedure.

I think it is key to set this up primarily as a way for people to donate to a good cause with the added benefit of helping Bitcoin instead of the other way round!

I'd be willing to help set up such a page or otherwise contribute - PM me if you need any help!
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August 28, 2011, 11:15:16 PM
 #23

As for the exact setup of such a fund there are a few possibilities. One would be to list a few renowned organizations and promise all the money to the first of them that lists Bitcoin as an official way to donate on their usual donation page (for an extended period of time).

That is a fantastic idea.  Make it into a bounty that a charity can claim by allowing Bitcoin donations via their normal method for a set period of time, say 6 months or a year.
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August 29, 2011, 05:22:52 AM
 #24

As for the exact setup of such a fund there are a few possibilities. One would be to list a few renowned organizations and promise all the money to the first of them that lists Bitcoin as an official way to donate on their usual donation page (for an extended period of time).

That is a fantastic idea.  Make it into a bounty that a charity can claim by allowing Bitcoin donations via their normal method for a set period of time, say 6 months or a year.

It seems kind of weird to make them do something like that for money...maybe it's just me, but it seems a little off for a charitable donation.

I also think a good charity that isn't very controversial is the ASPCA.

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August 29, 2011, 05:58:17 AM
 #25


Bruce Wagner of onlyonetv.com has agreed to hold the funds in escrow until we reach $10,000 worth of BTC.


Wait... what?

Rather than being scammed by Mr. Bruce.... cruising... to.... pattaya.... why don't I just donate myself so I can first wait until the red cross ACTUALLY lists its BTC adress?
How will Bruce be refunding our BTC when it turns out the Red Cross is not interested in BTC? What is the deadline for this action? Lets say we manage to gather 10k dollar worth of bitcoins today, then the bitcoin price drops by half before the red cross gets a bitcoin adress... who is going to cover the extra 5k dollars worth in bitcoins to reach the promised $10k again?
And what happens if the opposite happens? Who gets the extra cash?

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Donate to the BitKitty Foundation instead! -> 1Fd4yLneGmxRHnPi6WCMC2hAMzaWvDePF9 <-
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August 29, 2011, 06:18:15 AM
 #26

It seems kind of weird to make them do something like that for money...maybe it's just me, but it seems a little off for a charitable donation.

I disagree. I have quite a lot of experience with charities, actually... Long-term unemployed for medical reasons, so I had to rely on several for services. I also volunteered at quite a few over the years (as in, more than three dozen different ones, totaling thousands of hours), and I've even been doing some computer work and website development for two local charities.

The problem is the majority of charities are quite, quite focused on anything that will get them some more money. Some of them because they're keeping the maximum percentage allowed by law, and some just because they really do just want to be able to buy food for more families. I'll tell you, though, the ones who take the PERCENTAGE of donations, and not just taking out their ACTUAL expenses exactly ... frankly, giving to some of those wouldn't possibly make Bitcoin look good. They -WOULD- take bitcoins once-and-just-once. And from then on any time someone asked they'd do this "Oh you know we tried that once and it didn't work out ..." because they'd just want dollars. Faster profit.

And, no, not all charities are like this -- there are five charities in my area where the head honcho is known to be pulling in more money in salary than some of the bank executives around here get, but most have a more "reasonable" $100-200K yearly income ...

But face facts. If Bitcoin users are going to give a huge chunk of money to a charity, and this is being solicited specifically with the topic line "How to make sure Bitcoin will never be banned by governments!" ... If you're donating just to donate, you don't care if they take Bitcoin or not, so mail them dollars. If you only want to donate if the donation is Bitcoin, then yes, you have every reason to say "Yeah, we'll give you the windfall as long as you keep accepting bitcoins, because everyone giving US the money to give to you wants you to accept bitcoins going forward, not just this second."

Attaching strings to donations? No, it's not some bad thing. It happens all the time. In fact, in virtually every case that I get some assistance from a charitable organization there's a condition. And it's often been an extremely rotten and unfair one: several years ago, my home was destroyed by a storm. The only place nearby who would take me in had a condition: change religions. This included the "requirement" that I attend six hours per day of religious classes, and if I missed any I was out -- and they were very clear that if I had to choose between working and taking the classes, either choose the classes or go elsewhere.

To be blunt, if a charity is allowed to attach strings to the help they give out, I see no problem with attaching strings to a donation to them. I mean, hell, all the big donors do it, why do you think they name hospital wings after people in the first place?

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August 29, 2011, 06:51:12 AM
 #27

I was in a hurry to go hiking when I read this post and made a donation.  I am disappointed looking at block explorer just now.  At the very least I can say with a straight face that _I_ use Bitcoin primarily for charity, and that is good enough for me.

But I did do some thinking/re-thinking on my day out.  Also read some other people's perspectives on this thread.

I do believe that it would be a big win in a number of ways if there were a decent sized chunk of the economy which was going to charity.  This would give the opportunity to bring it up in response to people who point out the negatives (Silk Road, laundering, etc.)  Also, of course, at least some charities are in need of support and can/will do good things with it.

I would be uncomfortable coercing charities to accept Bitcoin, or even forcing them to put much energy into it.  Those that do may just be more interested in profit than their cause.

I think that what may work better is to have some responsible party collect donations on behalf of 'interested parties in the Bitcoin community', transfer them into state currency, and donate as they see fit.  Requesting a simple note from the recipient thanking said 'interested parties in the Bitcoin community' for the donation would not be to much to ask.  Hopefully a tally could, one day, add up to a sum which would impress Joe Sixpack who has otherwise never heard of Bitcoin or only hears the line that it is the 'terrorist' or 'druggy' internets money.

There are some variations on the theme.

 * Maybe 'bins' that people could donate to so that they are more comfortable that their donations would be more likely to go to a purpose they agree with.

 * Maybe the tax advantages of charitable donations could be leveraged.  Off-hand, my thought on that would be that it could go to startups to help them not to need to gouge us poor would-be buyers so much.  But that is a huge can of worms.

It also could very well be the case that there are simply _not_ enough people in the Bitcoin economy at this time who are of a mindset or have the means to think much about charity.  Or that the economy is not big enough to be able to realistically expect a decent chunk of funds for charity.  If either of these things is the case, I hope it will not always be so.



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August 29, 2011, 06:58:59 AM
 #28

I was in a hurry to go hiking when I read this post and made a donation.  I am disappointed looking at block explorer just now.  At the very least I can say with a straight face that _I_ use Bitcoin primarily for charity, and that is good enough for me.

It's also possible that Bruce Wagner is simply an obviously bad choice as an escrow to people besides myself.

He lost twenty-five-thousand bitcoins to mybitcoin, and was publicly talking about how many others he'd recommended them to also lost coins (I believe he mentioned that including relatives, but I could be wrong, I haven't gone to look it up again) ... he continued to endorse mybitcoin for a good while after many people were finding problems and losing coins and posting about it here, including many people asking him outright to stop endorsing them.

The simple fact is Bruce Wagner not only hasn't proven he can be trusted as an escrow service, he has proven he cannot handle secure storage of his own coins, or those of people he wanted to give good advice to.

As little as I have (I'm on disability and usually need assistance for food) I'd be willing to give some of my coins to a good charity... but I'd have to trust the charity, and every step along the way. For a number of reasons, the biggest one stated just above, I cannot trust Bruce.

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August 29, 2011, 07:21:48 AM
 #29

I was in a hurry to go hiking when I read this post and made a donation.  I am disappointed looking at block explorer just now.  At the very least I can say with a straight face that _I_ use Bitcoin primarily for charity, and that is good enough for me.

It's also possible that Bruce Wagner is simply an obviously bad choice as an escrow to people besides myself.

He lost twenty-five-thousand bitcoins to mybitcoin, and was publicly talking about how many others he'd recommended them to also lost coins (I believe he mentioned that including relatives, but I could be wrong, I haven't gone to look it up again) ... he continued to endorse mybitcoin for a good while after many people were finding problems and losing coins and posting about it here, including many people asking him outright to stop endorsing them.

The simple fact is Bruce Wagner not only hasn't proven he can be trusted as an escrow service, he has proven he cannot handle secure storage of his own coins, or those of people he wanted to give good advice to.


I would not be surprised if Bruce himself did not agree with you.  But...

Running a charity aggregation deal should, I think, be quite possible to do in a very transparent way which would satisfy the chronically suspicious folks (like me.)

I also would not expect that it would take a huge investment in time relative to many other endeavors.

I envision an address where people could verify that their donations are being appropriately deposited.  Also, publication of a series of mails being sent to potential charities and the responses sent back.  Probably a discussion thread also.  I cannot honestly say that I have ever coordinated such a thing so I am probably underestimating the effort.

I would hope that the funds in the address(es) could be drawn down at a reasonable frequency to limit losses, and if nobody in the community can figure out how to keep a secret key secret after all that we've been through in the last few months...well...we may as well kiss Bitcoin goodbye as a viable system anyway.

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August 29, 2011, 07:32:38 AM
 #30

I would not be surprised if Bruce himself did not agree with you.  But...
<snip>
I would hope that the funds in the address(es) could be drawn down at a reasonable frequency to limit losses, and if nobody in the community can figure out how to keep a secret key secret after all that we've been through in the last few months...well...we may as well kiss Bitcoin goodbye as a viable system anyway.

My whole point was that Bruce didn't successfully keep his secret key secret and lost, as I recall, over 25,000 bitcoins.

Actually, technically, that's incorrect, and my point was that Bruce didn't think a secret key had to be secret at all, or his, and as a result he lost, as I recall, over 25,000 bitcoins.

I'm not at all disputing that someone can learn from a mistake like that, mind you. I'm sure a lot of people did learn. And of course it can quite easily be that Bruce is one of them. The problem is... someone running a TV show all about bitcoin, who can't do the basics that have been discussed all over the forum since day one, does not really inspire confidence...

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August 29, 2011, 07:35:59 AM
 #31

...
The simple fact is Bruce Wagner not only hasn't proven he can be trusted as an escrow service, he has proven he cannot handle secure storage of his own coins, or those of people he wanted to give good advice to.
I would not be surprised if Bruce himself did not agree with you.  But...
...

Opps.  Lemme re-phrase.  I suspect that Bruce himself may in fact agree with you.

But again, I think that a great deal of trust in either the motives or competence of a party willing to run such an effort is not an essential need.  Some sort of 'parity bit' scheme for access to the private key could be arranged if it really bothered people (though the questing then comes up about who sets that up I guess...)

Both Bruce and the memory guy still seem to me to be among the top candidates for such a 'cherity' endeavor both because they have shown some interest in it specifically, and because, respectively, they have been in for a long-ish time and are early adopters among early adopters.

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August 29, 2011, 07:48:37 AM
 #32

But again, I think that a great deal of trust in either the motives or competence of a party willing to run such an effort is not an essential need.  Some sort of 'parity bit' scheme for access to the private key could be arranged if it really bothered people (though the questing then comes up about who sets that up I guess...)

Both Bruce and the memory guy still seem to me to be among the top candidates for such a 'cherity' endeavor both because they have shown some interest in it specifically, and because, respectively, they have been in for a long-ish time and are early adopters among early adopters.

I'd trust Bruce's motives on this one -- I don't have any real reason not to, honestly. Even the stuff I disagree with he's done I don't question his intent to do something decent.

I do, however, disagree with you that trust in the competence of a party isn't essential. If I put coins, dollars, or whatever else in someone's hands I'm going to want to know that's the right place to put them -- both in terms of "Do I believe this person will do the right thing?" and in terms of "Do I believe this person will do the right thing?"

Yes, I said the same thing twice. If the person isn't capable of performing whatever act is "the right thing" it's the same result as if they have no intention of trying.

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August 29, 2011, 08:05:47 AM
 #33


Any such effort should be well coordinated and some things should be clarified beforehand:
  • what happens if the organization does not accept the donation for whatever reason?
I'm sure we will be able to find someone willing to take free money.
Quote
  • what happens if the targeted amount is not achieved?
I think charities may be tempted to accept a smaller amount,  or I may be tempted to put up additional money.
Quote
  • how long should we wait to decide these two cases?
I think everything should be able to be settled by the end of Sept 2011,  but there is no reason to set the time limit in stone.
Quote
  • is the donation paid even if the organization makes some kind of a one-time exception to accept Bitcoin?
It is our money,  so we can decide what we want to do with it.
Quote
  • what happens if the donated fund is suddenly worth much more than the targeted amount?
I will find another good bitcoin promoting project to spend the money on.  I think I have a good track record:
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=8717.0
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=7961.0
https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=34320.0
[/list]

[/quote]

If everyone who has viewed this topic had donated just one bitcoin,  we would already have more than enough money to make this happen. 

The funds are very secure stored with www.mtgox.com

Please send your donation now!

1CEmUakCaR71BmELWJPg72QRYzUqEddNm6

In addition to Bitcoins,  I need everyones help to make this happen.
Lets start contacting charities today, asking if they can accept bitcoin donations.
Maybe we can get more on board just by asking.
Can someone post a list of charities to contact?


Lets make this happen!

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August 29, 2011, 10:02:57 AM
 #34

Thanks for addressing my concerns - I really appreciate the spirit of this, a few more remarks however:

  • what happens if the organization does not accept the donation for whatever reason?
I'm sure we will be able to find someone willing to take free money.
No doubt about that - will it be somebody the original donors would like to receive their money as well is another question. Have a look at the EFF case - many did not agree that their Bitcoin donations ultimately went into the faucet and it leaves a bitter taste for everybody to see that their donation goes to somebody they might not like. This can easily be avoided if a clear procedure is stated before you ask people to donate - saying that you will find somebody to take the free money is not enough.

Charities are mostly more than willing to accept money - commodity contributions however are often rejected because they cause more organizational hassles than they are worth. Especially for large organizations its probably very difficult to adopt a new payment method. What if they kindly ask you to convert the funds to USD and donate USD instead - would you do it? Would people who donated mainly because they would have liked the organization to accept Bitcoin directly agree?

Quote
Quote
  • is the donation paid even if the organization makes some kind of a one-time exception to accept Bitcoin?
It is our money,  so we can decide what we want to do with it.
Great, but who is "we"? Sure, you contribute the largest part and I would personally trust you to do "the right thing" (TM) but others might disagree. Note that the owner of the fund money has no safe and fair way to ask the original donors about their opinion after they have donated, so this has to be decided beforehand! Again, have a look at the EFF case to see what can go wrong...

Quote
Lets make this happen!
Yes please - I think its a great idea and I really thank you for you are very generous and your initiatives are very important for Bitcoin. I would just hate that people wanting to do something good (for the world _and_ for Bitcoin) feel offended because there are no clear rules for this effort.
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August 29, 2011, 10:12:35 AM
 #35

If everyone who has viewed this topic had donated just one bitcoin,  we would already have more than enough money to make this happen. 

The funds are very secure stored with www.mtgox.com

Please send your donation now!

I'm pretty willing to give to any reasonable cause, and at least for me, I'd consider most tax-exempt charitable organizations to qualify. But as a few people have pointed out...

Some people are more choosy about who they want to donate to. Some prefer small charities, some prefer larger groups. Some want a specific religious affiliation, some just want ANY religious affiliation, or specifically want there to be none...

And then we have our own pet causes, when it comes down to it. One of my friends donates to several charities, but only to ones that help the homeless. Some donate just for cancer research.

What I think may be a good idea to consider as a solution... Why not start multiple pools? You can take your $5,000 worth of bitcoins, and split that into, say, 5 $1,000 pools. Each for a different charity as first-choice, but each with a different "focus." For example, maybe you have one pool for, well, the first non-religious charity that will accept it. And a pool for the first food bank that wants it.

And one pool for "Hey, I don't care, as long as it helps someone!!" and that pool can just be distributed as needed among the others -- perhaps evenly, perhaps to meet a numeric boundary to try and get another charity to take the help.

Benefit one, we don't help one charity, we potentially help four or five.

Benefit two, more people will feel comfortable donating. You might end up raising more than the original target amount as a result.

Benefit three, we'd expose more charities to Bitcoins, and charities often communicate. A local friend of mine works at a small food bank, they trade "clients" with a free medical clinic, they encourage their respective donors to consider contributing to the others, they share information about grant competitions and things like that.

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August 29, 2011, 10:58:39 AM
 #36

Governments like the US will be hard pressed to get rid of something like encrypted numbers. To outlaw bitcoin would only mean we have to change the name of bitcoin, really. You cannot outlaw numbers.

They obviously couldn't regulate the existence of the numbers, but that isn't what they would do.

Governments do regulate commerce, including mechanisms of payment.  It is no stretch to imagine that some crusading evil-doer in congress could preach that bitcoin is enabling the anonymous purchase of illegal drugs, therefore the US must outlaw the use of bitcoin as a medium of exchange.  Many more wrong-headed laws on other topics have been passed.

This charity initiative is a step in the right direction.

What bitcoin is known for is a very important issue that should not be neglected.

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August 29, 2011, 11:48:59 AM
 #37

Governments like the US will be hard pressed to get rid of something like encrypted numbers. To outlaw bitcoin would only mean we have to change the name of bitcoin, really. You cannot outlaw numbers.

They obviously couldn't regulate the existence of the numbers, but that isn't what they would do.

Governments do regulate commerce, including mechanisms of payment.  It is no stretch to imagine that some crusading evil-doer in congress could preach that bitcoin is enabling the anonymous purchase of illegal drugs, therefore the US must outlaw the use of bitcoin as a medium of exchange.  Many more wrong-headed laws on other topics have been passed.

This charity initiative is a step in the right direction.

What bitcoin is known for is a very important issue that should not be neglected.

Yeah, especially because we can't trust our elected officials to truly comprehend this. This isn't some crack on politicians either. I don't expect the elected officials to understand everything about pharmaceuticals. Or medical research, transplants, how a Cisco router knows where to send data ...

They're supposed to make laws to cover everything except they can't know every subject. So sooner or later some senator is going to say "bitcoin" and another will go "what's that?" and a third will say "oh, that's that thing people use to buy crack on the internet" ...

If senator number 4 says, "not just crack, the red cross takes it as donations, and you can buy computer parts and clothes with it" then we have a much better chance of winning.

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August 29, 2011, 11:58:33 AM
 #38

I Honestly do not see at all this stopping "Re: How to make sure Bitcoin will never be banned by governments!" from happening if it is ever on the cards! The people who control the money supply control everything, they do not care about anyone except themselves. Sorry to be brutally honest, everything is worth a try, but at the end of the day, they do what ever they wish. To any extent
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August 29, 2011, 12:44:50 PM
 #39

Start our own charity called kittens and kids




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August 29, 2011, 01:47:32 PM
 #40

Great idea.  Smiley  Donated. 

BTC accepted at my browser-based MMO, Minethings.com.  ~1500 active players mining now.
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