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Author Topic: Needed: short examples of organisations rejecting BTC based on legal concerns  (Read 1572 times)
julz
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January 04, 2012, 12:41:25 AM
 #1

I already have,
EFF,Kiva,SENS foundation

Please let me know of any other organisations who have cited legal concerns as their reason to avoid/reject the use of bitcoin.
I need quotable snippets.


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gregwtmtno
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January 04, 2012, 03:22:33 AM
 #2

I believe wikipedia cited their fiduciary duties in not accepting bitcoin. That's a legal reason.
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January 04, 2012, 03:44:02 AM
 #3

I believe wikipedia cited their fiduciary duties in not accepting bitcoin. That's a legal reason.

The way I read it, I didn't think that was a legal reason.  I interpreted their "fiduciary duties" comment to mean "we owe it to ourselves not to get sidetracked from our mission and we think this is presently not worth the effort".

For them, it's not just "put up a bitcoin address and be done".  Their accounting people need to be thoroughly familiar with how to put them on the books, and how to redeem them for fiat, and if they don't care (because they rightfully think it will boost their donations no more than negligibly, percent to total), there are better things they can be doing with their fundraising man-hours.  This I believe is far more a concern to them than the "we might get in legal trouble for accepting bitcoin" notion.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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January 04, 2012, 11:33:22 AM
 #4

Sure, but are you going to try and convince them that the legality is not an issue?





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January 04, 2012, 12:57:29 PM
 #5

Thanks for responses! (got a very useful one in PM from istar)

The article has been published now: http://bitcoinmedia.com/the-effs-own-chilling-breeze/

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January 04, 2012, 01:30:09 PM
 #6

Thanks for responses! (got a very useful one in PM from istar)

The article has been published now: http://bitcoinmedia.com/the-effs-own-chilling-breeze/


Thats simply great, I loved it especially the end.
You used their own fearbased wait and see approach...
Not much frontier going on over there...
Maybe they should rename themselves to EF...Electric foundation Wink




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January 04, 2012, 02:14:50 PM
 #7

I think this article is a slap in the face to what I think the position the EFF really takes.

I go to DefCon annually... EFF goes there too... they definitely know about bitcoins and take an active interest.

I believe EFF is keeping their hands off bitcoin donations so they can preserve their neutrality just in case they ever need to go to bat for Bitcoin.  So to accuse the EFF of "chilling effects" for abandoning them as a donation method could be viewed as somewhat ungrateful if viewed in light of what their actual intent is very likely to be.

No, I don't think they have some specific grandiose plan of being the Bitcoin white knight - but they DO understand that it's a world-changing technology and they DO have an interest in keeping their ability to fight for it intact without being accused of a conflict of interest for accepting them as donations.  It should be pretty easy to see how their credibility fighting for Bitcoin would be easily and totally undermined by an adversary who points out that Bitcoin is a source of revenue for them.

Please... please... please... don't criticize the EFF for their decision to stop accepting bitcoin donations.  They are some smart folks, and they know what they are doing.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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January 04, 2012, 02:48:17 PM
 #8

Firstly, I am not educated on the matter to take a hard stance.

However if that is the case, why didn't they simply state that on their website instead of doing into some excuse about not endorsing bitcoin.

Basically Julz is saying they're lacking balls in this instance. Can't argue with that.
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January 04, 2012, 03:01:03 PM
 #9

I believe they actually did.

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

Point number 1

Their point about people misconstruing them as "endorsing" bitcoin is also very legitimate from the perspective of an advocacy organization. I don't think it's a shallow excuse.

These people give face time at defcon - last year they had attorneys manning their booth. Pretty shocking that attorneys have time to stand at a booth to talk to geeks. These guys will share much more in person than they ever will in a press release. They are highly interested in bitcoin, trust me. Everyone there knows about it.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
julz
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January 04, 2012, 03:05:27 PM
 #10

I think this article is a slap in the face to what I think the position the EFF really takes.

I go to DefCon annually... EFF goes there too... they definitely know about bitcoins and take an active interest.

I believe EFF is keeping their hands off bitcoin donations so they can preserve their neutrality just in case they ever need to go to bat for Bitcoin.  So to accuse the EFF of "chilling effects" for abandoning them as a donation method could be viewed as somewhat ungrateful if viewed in light of what their actual intent is very likely to be.

No, I don't think they have some specific grandiose plan of being the Bitcoin white knight - but they DO understand that it's a world-changing technology and they DO have an interest in keeping their ability to fight for it intact without being accused of a conflict of interest for accepting them as donations.  It should be pretty easy to see how their credibility fighting for Bitcoin would be easily and totally undermined by an adversary who points out that Bitcoin is a source of revenue for them.

Please... please... please... don't criticize the EFF for their decision to stop accepting bitcoin donations.  They are some smart folks, and they know what they are doing.

The criticism isn't specifically for them not accepting bitcoins - it's for the overly vague statements about legal issues.
I do appreciate they're essentially in favour of freedom to use new technologies without excessive legal intrusions.

If that explanation is all they intend to give, it's rather unfortunate that they ever accepted bitcoins in the first place and I suspect they may agree.  

It's the about-face without adequate follow-up that concerns me.  It's been 6 months.
Their explanation in June was a great big 'dunno - therefore avoid'.  The apparent reasonableness of this from the perspective of  various potential adopters of bitcoin is why this is so damaging, and I say - chilling.

If the business (and NGO) community is encouraged to steer a country-mile clear of where some imagined legal line may lie - you can bet that when the barely technology-grasping Senators come to decide just where to solidify that line, it'll be a whole lot easier for them to place it just in front of our feet.  

I think their June article gave an excessive impression of legal risk, not specifically for the EFF, but in a more general sense.
(compare with the cited 'innovation and legal panic' article also from June)

In making such a backtrack based on nebulous legal fears, they should have foreseen a chilling effect and specifically discussed it, and ways the community and potential adopters could work together to move forward.
I'm not under the illusion that that would be an easy piece to write, but I don't believe they were particularly consultative with the bitcoin community on this.

I'm unconvinced by your argument that accepting them could raise any conflict of interest.
a) they have multiple methods to receive payments
b) It would be a simple matter to temporarily suspend a particular method if & when a specific case regarding it came up.





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January 04, 2012, 04:00:20 PM
 #11

I gave it a second read and am inclined to agree with you.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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January 04, 2012, 07:00:22 PM
 #12

I liked the article.  Hopefully it will serve as a wake up call to the EFF.  It's hard to think of any project more worthy of their efforts than bitcoin and it will be unfortunate for them if they're sitting on the sidelines for this one.

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January 04, 2012, 07:55:44 PM
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Thanks for responses! (got a very useful one in PM from istar)

The article has been published now: http://bitcoinmedia.com/the-effs-own-chilling-breeze/


A well written and informative article.  Thanks!

I have a lot of hope that the EFF intends to defend Bitcoin if/when there is a need, and if that is the case their actions vis-a-vis donations in that medium are very shrewd and make a lot of sense.  So far (and amazingly to me) there really does not have seemed to have been a need to get involved.

If there is one battle which it makes sense for everyone to get their duck in a row for it would be Bitcoin.  I believe it quite possible that we are in the 'calm before the storm' period.  For my part I've taken an active interest in making hay while the sun shines with this technology.  I sense that others have been doing so as well and that there has been a significant 'transfer of wealth' over the last half year which possibly has occurred more by design than by accident.


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Mike Caldwell
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January 04, 2012, 08:10:32 PM
 #14

The article needs another run of copy-editing: there are numerous simple typos in it that would be a good idea to correct.  Some can easily be caught with spellcheck.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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January 05, 2012, 03:30:36 AM
 #15

The article needs another run of copy-editing: there are numerous simple typos in it that would be a good idea to correct.  Some can easily be caught with spellcheck.

Thanks - but I only found 1.   donator changed to donor (that is a bit embarrassing!)
edit: make that 2!   harrassment -> harassment.

Note that this is Australian/UK English - hence 'ise'  vs 'ize'  - but of course I don't apply this to any US English quotes.
Also - typos in quoted sections are deliberately left as is.

Other minor points I can think of are that perhaps twitter & facebook should be capitalised. (fixed)

If you have any I've missed - please share. Cheers!


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January 05, 2012, 03:33:55 AM
 #16

No there were a bunch more and they weren't me flagging US spelling as typos. Will look again. There was an it's that should have been its, for example.

Companies claiming they got hacked and lost your coins sounds like fraud so perfect it could be called fashionable.  I never believe them.  If I ever experience the misfortune of a real intrusion, I declare I have been honest about the way I have managed the keys in Casascius Coins.  I maintain no ability to recover or reproduce the keys, not even under limitless duress or total intrusion.  Remember that trusting strangers with your coins without any recourse is, as a matter of principle, not a best practice.  Don't keep coins online. Use paper wallets instead.
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