Feeds

Bitcoin Foundation vows to clean up currency's bad rep

'Bitcoin don't get no respect!'

High performance access to file storage

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." ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.