Former Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, Chaincode Labs co-founder, Alex Morcos and University of Sussex academic Martin White has announced plans to create a nonprofit “Bitcoin Legal Defence Fund” to protect Bitcoin developers against lawsuits and similar "legal pressure."
The fund's board (currently Dorsey, Morcos and White) would choose cases to support, with part-time and volunteer lawyers providing the initial defence counsel for free.
The announcement was contained in an email message sent to a mailing list of Bitcoin developers on Wednesday from an email address appearing to belong to Dorsey.
According to the mail, the Bitcoin Legal Defence Fund is a “nonprofit entity that aims to minimize legal headaches that discourage software developers from actively developing Bitcoin and related projects,”
“The main purpose of this Fund is to defend developers from lawsuits regarding their activities in the Bitcoin ecosystem, including finding and retaining defence counsel, developing litigation strategy, and paying legal bills.”
Dorsey didn't say how much money the fund had to start, but noted it wasn't looking for additional money "at this time."
“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.”
Dorsey company Block has been heavily involved in Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, and he fears that the flurry of lawsuits could tarnish his business as much as anyone else's.
However, Dorsey noted that many Bitcoin developers are independents that have little choice but to give up when facing lawsuits they don't have the resources to fight.
“Litigation and continued threats are having their intended effect; individual defendants have chosen to capitulate in the absence of legal support."
According to the email, at the first instance, the fund will include volunteers and part-time lawyers for developers to “take advantage of if they so wish.” although, the email also states that “the board of the Fund will be responsible for determining which lawsuits and defendants it will help defend.
The fund’s first project will be to take over the existing defence of Ramona Ang’s “Tulip Trading Lawsuit” against developers including Ira Kleiman for alleged misconduct over access to a BTC fortune, according to the email.
Jack Dorsey, who stepped down as Twitter CEO at the end of Nov 2021, is a long-time proponent of Bitcoin. It remains unclear whether the newly named Block boss left the social media firm to focus on the company’s plans to develop a decentralised Bitcoin exchange.
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