Feeds

Bitcoin Foundation vows to clean up currency's bad rep

'Bitcoin don't get no respect!'

Boost IT visibility and business value

Tired of bad press, Bitcoin advocates have launched a new foundation aimed at both promoting the electronic currency and funding infrastructure to maintain its momentum.

The Bitcoin Foundation is the brainchild of Gavin Andresen, who says he modeled it after the Linux Foundation, the non-profit organization that "promotes, protects, and advances" the open source OS.

"As the Bitcoin economy has evolved, we have all noticed barriers to its widespread adoption – botnets that attempt to undermine the network, hackers that threaten wallets, and an undeserved reputation stirred by ignorance and inaccurate reporting," reads a statement on the Foundation's website. Just how it plans to mitigate those threats, however, is not entirely clear.

Bitcoin-mining botnets are big business for fraudsters. Most recently, Sophos estimated that the ZeroAccess botnet could potentially bring in more than $100,000 per day.

Stories of hacks and heists have dogged the digital currency since its inception, too. Just this month, an unknown thief managed to pilfer 24,000 Bitcoins from trading exchange Bitfloor – a sum equivalent to $297,000 in real-world cash at today's exchange rate.

And while El Reg can speak to neither ignorance nor inaccurate reporting, it's true that Bitcoin has garnered a rather tarnished reputation. In 2011, the US Senate called for an investigation into the online currency over alleged links to money laundering, tax evasion, and other criminal activity. Even the libertarian-leaning Electronic Freedom Foundation has distanced itself from it.

But although Bitcoin Foundation chair Peter Vessenes agrees that there are schemers and criminals who try to exploit the Bitcoin community and that there remain legal issues to be addressed in various jurisdictions, he feels the legal climate around the currency has been entirely misrepresented.

"We occasionally hear threatening statements from government representatives that don't seem to understand the law, much less how great Bitcoins are for the world," Vessenes writes in an open letter to the Bitcoin community.

To address this problem, the Bitcoin Foundation has planned a number of activities aimed at promoting Bitcoin and raising the perception of its legitimacy in the mainstream media. These include organizing a Bitcoin conference, creating an opt-in certification process for Bitcoin businesses, and publishing a set of best practices for companies who wish to trade in the currency.

In addition, one of the Foundation's immediate goals is to raise money to provide a salary and some budget for Andresen, who so far has been working as the lead developer of the core Bitcoin software without any compensation.

To that end, the Foundation is offering memberships at various levels. Premier Industry Memberships go for 10,000 Bitcoins per year ($124,000), and Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox has already signed on. The Foundation has also signed up BitInstant and CoinLab for Industry memberships, which go for 2,500 Bitcoins per year ($31,000).

Individuals can join for 2.5 Bitcoins per year ($31) or 25 Bitcoins ($310) for a lifetime membership, and the Foundation also accepts donations – in Bitcoins, naturally.

"This sort of support before launch is super encouraging," Vessenes writes. "I look forward to seeing more participation as we launch and get the word out." ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?