Distributed digital currency Bitcoin has dominated the newswires over the past couple of months, first with news that US senators were to crack down on the payment system and then reports that in the first Bitcoin theft of its size, a user lost 25,000 BTC — or nearly $487,749 at today’s market rates — to an unknown thief.
Previously accepting donations using Bitcoin, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, non-profit digital rights advocacy organisation, has announced that it has removed the Bitcoin donation option from its donations page on its website.
It highlighted three reasons behind its decision; the organisation does not understand the “complex legal issues” associated with creating a new currency system, it does not want to mislead its donors and it does not want to be seen advocating the use of Bitcoins.
With no case law on Bitcoin and worries that the currency could assist tax evasion and money laundering, the EFF would find itself ensnared in a legal battle, when it would normally assist those in the same position.The organisation also worried that because it was seen accepting Bitcoin donations, it would motivate its followers to participate in the project because they believed investment would be secure and risk-free.
As the EFF does not endorse any type of product or service, it made the a decision to drop Bitcoin. As a result, all of its donations were given to the Bitcoin faucet to ensure they remained in circulation.
The EFF ends its statement thanking the Bitcoin community for its support, despite the fact its announcement is likely to affect confidence in the currency:
We appreciate the outpouring of support we have received from the Bitcoin community and we share that community’s commitment to privacy and innovation. We also appreciate their frustration with the privacy problems posed by existing on-line payment systems. However, EFF will no longer be accepting or spending Bitcoins.