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Bitcoin And The Electronic Frontier Foundation



Bitcoin And The Electronic Frontier Foundation

There are many legal implications when utilizing Bitcoin. Users of Bitcoin
who conduct business with the wrong people could face charges of money
laundering, identity theft, and/or fraud. Honest Bitcoin users could be
implicated in crimes by criminals engaging in phishing or malware and
stealing identities. The Bitcoin economy resembles that of the wild, wild,
west with inherently little or no regulation. Because of the barbaric nature
of this new currency it is highly susceptible to legal attacks by law
enforcement. Bitcoin has recently, however, gained some legal protection by
the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). In another significant milestone
for P2P cryptocurrency the EFF has agreed to accept Bitcoin donations! The
EFF is known for legal cases involving high profile tech companies such as
Apple, Google, Craigslist, and Facebook. The simple fact that the EFF is
welcoming anonymous donations is a small but significant step towards Bitcoin
societal acceptance.

Accepting anonymous donations is not a light decision by the EFF, and the
implications are monumental. For example, selling or buying Bitcoins with an
anonymous user could mean unintentionally aiding terrorism or helping North
Korea build nuclear weapons. Or, political groups accepting Bitcoins could be
accepting funds by enemies of the state. The United States recently placed
sanctions on Iran for its nuclear programs, and if Bitcoins are adopted
universally then sanctions would no longer work as a tool to change the
behaviors of government. In essence, the globalization of Bitcoins will
affect international political policy.

The disruptive nature of Bitcoin can cause unease with existing institutions
and the war against Bitcoin will be waged through a legal front. The
endorsement of the EFF could set up a legal battle in the future, "Bitcoin
vs. Entity X". What courts could fail to realize, however, is the
non-centralized aspect of Bitcoin, which makes shutting down the service next
to impossible. Most likely, that is why Bitcoin will succeed no matter what
trials and tribulations it may have to face. Nevertheless, the EFF's
willingness to accept Bitcoins will further the cryptocurrency's cause, and
will encourage the recognition of Bitcoin as a currency to be "official".

Several members of bitcoin.org have been involved in making the endorsement
of the EFF happen which you can read at this forum thread. Feel free to
donate to the EFF at their donation page. 
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