At Freedom of the Press Foundation, we’re committed to respecting the choice of everyday individuals to support transparency journalism. That’s why we’re adamantly opposed to the extra-legal financial blockade of WikiLeaks, which was one of our original inspirations for starting the foundation. Since we launched, we’ve received a number of requests from Internet users to provide a way for users to donate bitcoin to Freedom of the Press Foundation.
After investigating the issue for some time, we’re very proud to announce we will now be accepting bitcoin donations on our site. You can donate by visiting our front page.
Bitcoin is a digital currency that offers a stateless alternative to traditional payment providers. You can read more about how bitcoin works, why it’s been successful so far, and its risks here, here, and here.
Currently, payment providers exercise a great deal of control over what types of transactions they will allow. Payment providers like Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Google Wallet might establish policies against allowing certain types of controversial transactions – such as donations to journalism organizations that publish classified documents or for certain materials they consider indecent or obscene—but which are protected by the First Amendment. In many cases, these are arbitrary corporate policies – payment companies decide what they will and won’t allow, decide how and when to enforce the policies, and can choose to shut down accounts or block payments as they see fit.
Worse, governments can unofficially pressure these companies to engage in this type of financial censorship when it would be barred through legal means. We saw a sobering example with the blockade of WikiLeaks.
Bitcoin offers the potential for a censorship-resistant currency. While PayPal, Visa and Mastercard can intercede to block payments and shut down accounts, it’s far more difficult to shut down a bitcoin transaction (though bitcoin payment intermediaries could potentially serve as censors). For this reason, many liberty-loving users are excited about bitcoin.
At Freedom of the Press Foundation, we believe it’s not our role to tell donors how they should store their money or process payments. We just want to give donors as many ways as possible to support transparency journalism. And as part of that commitment, we’re extremely pleased to be offering a way to send us bitcoins.
We’re teaming up with BitPay, a bitcoin service provider who has offered to provide us bitcoin support and the ability to process donations without taking an additional service fee. BitPay also processes bitcoins for free speech-friendly organizations like WordPress. Thanks BitPay!
So bitcoin lovers – send us some bitcoins by going to our front page to donate. We use your donations to champion free speech, transparency journalism, and government accountability.