[Wikimedia-l] Let's accept Bitcoin as a donation method

Peter Gervai grinapo at gmail.com
Thu Dec 12 08:52:16 UTC 2013

On Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 4:31 AM, Tim Starling <tstarling at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> On 12/12/13 02:54, Nathan wrote:
>> Bitcoin isn't native currency for anyone, and anyone who wishes
>> to make a Bitcoin donation could certainly do so using a more standard
>> currency.

> I would think that if anonymity is the main concern, a transaction
> system with a public log of all transactions would not be the best choice.

I guess we're pretty lost in several different agendas and purposes.

Bitcoin is clearly controversial in the sense that due to its anon and
non-government-controlled nature it is used in ways traditional money
was neither planned nor accepted, and its very existence is a fight
against control, trail tracking and other various (legal and illegal)
means of invading privacy of honest people and criminals both.

I observe quite different reasons people would like to have BC accepted.

I guess for the most part it's about support freedom, fight against
governmental control and fight against invasion of privacy. People
make point to use BC instead of govt money to donate thus pulling in
organisations to support monetary freedom (of their opinion, at
least). In this aspect, and I guess that's the main aspect, Wikipedia
should support that freedom. In this aspect, however, it is clear that
supporting this is dangerous since it's an open fight against
governmental control, and governments are sensitive abvout losing
their hard-collected rights. It is also a political move in that
sense, and aven it's not for any given political force should not be
taken lightly.

Other aspect is where anonimity is the main reason, where people or
organisations risk by donating an US organisation or to Wikipedia, The
Guardian of Free Information in general. Cash drop is obviously not
the solution for a Chinese or Russian citizen, and honestly we're
quite out of alternatives here. (Please do not get into debates about
why anyone would strongly prefer to stay anonymous, that is not the
point, thank you.)

Another aspect would be technical: "why not?" There are steps and
resources required to process bitcoin, especially strong mphasis about
informational security since BC is quite prone to electronic theft.
However these are not impossible, not even hard steps, and WMF is
absolutely capable to create the infrastructure to accept BC safely. I
see no real problem here.
(And even if it requires work from accountants and tax-professionals
and lawyers we do have the resources to archieve that easily. We might
even set example for smaller NGOs about how to do that legally; they
may not have the resources to reach a working solution.)

Again a different aspect is volatility or unstable exchange rates,
some people argue that BC is not a stable currency. Ackowledging the
truth in that I believe it is irrelevant: if people keep their money
in BC that's their worry, if they donate $100 worth of BC which will
be exachanged to $50 next week it is still $50 donation for us. We do
not plan to keep our assets in BC, and even if we would keep BC
donations in BC (why not) there's nothing to lose; if it loses 90% of
its worth due to whatever happening then that's it, might just happen
to a "real" currency either. We cannot lose more than the donations in
BC anyway.

A few people start something I usually would call trolling in
different context ( :-) ) which debates on why bitcoin and why not
johndoecoin or billygold or whatever. First because this topic is
about BC, let the whatever scheme debate run elsewhere (and you may
work to have BC accepted as a basis for your esoteric semicurrency
LATER). Second because BC "market penetration" is not comparable,
people are using it, it is hard to deny, and there are stable
exchanges giving you real money for it, the demand is much higher than
for susiecoins or whatever.

Out of the topics above the only risk I see is the
political/anti-government/anti-control/free-speech aspects, and these
are not easy problems indeed. But I do not believe people arguing the
other aspects have much to debate on. Seems you're running in circles,
pulling up the same non-reasoning over and over.

For the record I do not plan to donate in BC, neither do I mine it. I
just tend to support more freedom in general.


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