We’re Thinking about Bitcoin, But Haven’t Made a Decision Yet

We’re Thinking about Bitcoin, But Haven’t Made a Decision Yet
December 20, 2012

The last few days have been incredible. Since we launched on Sunday night, supporters have helped the Freedom of the Press Foundation raise over $92,000 to support cutting-edge transparency journalism (and it’s only Thursday!).

We’ve gotten a lot of feedback from our supporters, and we’re hoping to use this blog to respond to it. So for our first post, we wanted to respond to the question we’ve gotten more than any other: whether we will start accepting the stateless digital currency Bitcoin.

First off, we respect the financial privacy rights of our donors – in fact, to the greatest extent possible we’ve adopted policies to safeguard that privacy. This includes obscuring data in our own databases after a period of time to make it far more difficult for us to tell how much a particular donor gave and how that money was allocated. There are drawbacks to this approach (for example, it prevents us from accepting recurring donations), but we’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do.

Secondly, we know that choosing to donate in a particular way is an act of speech. The financial blockade against WikiLeaks censors both WikiLeaks and all those who would express themselves by donating to the famed whistleblower website. Freedom of the Press Foundation was designed in part to give a voice back to the people, ensuring your voices aren’t shut down by an extralegal financial blockade.

So, are we going to accept Bitcoin, which is a powerful technology designed to protect financial privacy and freedom? The answer for now is maybe. Bitcoin has the potential to offer the same type of anonymity and freedom that we expect from cash in the offline world.

But we need to investigate Bitcoin a bit more before making a decision, including discussing it with our board of directors and legal counsel. There are also technical challenges we would need to overcome – such as how to let Bitcoin donors indicate how their donations should be distributed (a particular challenge since our bundles of organizations will change every few months).

For now, know that we do not have a Bitcoin address and you should not transfer Bitcoins to any address purporting to be in support of us.

Please also note that if you want to donate Bitcoins to just WikiLeaks—and not our other three beneficiaries or to Freedom of the Press Foundation itself—you can already do so directly by using this address:

1HB5XMLmzFVj8ALj6mfBsbifRoD4miY36v

Note: For maximum security and anonymity, WikiLeaks recommends you request a one-time Bitcoin address. To do so, please join their IRC and type /msg Bitcoin new. Their helpful bot will generate a new donation address for each transaction. Please make sure Bot is active on #bitcoin channel and has @ to the left of his nick.