Jack Dorsey launches fund to support Bitcoin developers in legal battles

  • The Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund is being masterminded with Chaincode Labs co-founder Alex Morcos and Martin White, a professor at the University of Sussex. 
  • The fund will provide legal defense for Bitcoin developers facing lawsuits regarding their activities within the Bitcoin ecosystem.

In response to the recent legal battles faced by Bitcoin developers, former Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has announced a fund to support them to face their respondents without fear. According to the announcement, the Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund is being masterminded with Chaincode Labs co-founder Alex Morcos and Martin White, Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Informatics at the University of Sussex. 

The announcement also said that the fund will provide legal defense for Bitcoin developers facing lawsuits regarding their activities within the Bitcoin ecosystem. Some of the supports include paying legal bills, developing litigation strategies, and finding and retaining defense counsel. 

Litigation and continued threats are having their intended effect; individual defendants have chosen to capitulate in the absence of legal support. We propose a coordinated and formalized response to help defend developers.

In the last couple of years, software developers have been demoralized by legal challenges, discouraging them from developing projects like the Bitcoin privacy protocols and the lightning network. The Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund was therefore created as a non-profit entity to offset some of these challenges. For now, Bitcoin developers will be assisted by volunteer and part-time lawyers. From the email, it seems the fund will not automatically take care of all legal battles faced by developers. 

The Tulip Trading lawsuit involving 16 Bitcoin developers will be supported first

According to the message, the board of the fund will determine the lawsuits and the defendants it will support. Also, raising additional funds for this operation will be at the direction of the board. 

At this time, the Fund is not seeking to raise additional money for its operations but will do so at the direction of the board if needed for further legal action or to pay for staff.

For the start, the funds will take over the coordination of the existing defense of the Tulip Trading lawsuit. This lawsuit is against developers for allegedly breaching fiduciary duty and providing a source of funding for outside counsel. 

Recently, Ontier LLP, the law firm of Craig Wright’s Tulip Trading Limited (TTL), was given the green light to sue 16 Bitcoin-related developers over funds from the defunct Mt.Gox exchange. According to the report, Wright, who claims to be holding billions of US dollars on the defunct exchange, had his private keys to the wallet stolen from him last year. He, therefore, expects the developers to take steps to restore it for him. 

Wright’s lawyers wrote:

The fact that someone has stolen Tulip Trading’s digitally held, encrypted private bitcoin keys does not prevent developers from deploying code to enable the rightful owner to regain control of its bitcoin.

This and many other lawsuits confronting developers is what the Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund seeks to support. 

About Author

John's a cryptocurrency and blockchain writer and researcher with years of experience. He has a lot of interest in emerging startups, tokens, and the invisible forces of demand and supply. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Geography and Economics. My Email: (kojokumijohn@gmail.com)

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