Press Freedom Gets a Crypto Boost
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The First Amendment just got a major financial boost in the United States. Mainframe, a cryptocurrency startup dedicated to creating a censorship-resistant messaging system, donated a thousand Ethers to the Freedom of the Press Foundation. The Ether donation will be used to protect journalists and whistleblowers, and develop blockchain technology for secure communications.
The announcement made clear that Mainframe was motivated by its commitment to information freedoms. “Together, the two organizations share a commitment to protecting freedom of speech, promoting the use of digital security tools, and preserving the public’s right to information,” the companies said in a joint press release.
At current prices, the donation is worth $517,760 US.
Journalists and activists have long been fellow-travelers with the cryptocurrency community, and the censorship-resistant qualities of blockchain tech have made it an ideal form of payment. Bitcoin first caught mainstream attention in 2013, when Wikileaks fell under a payment embargo from major credit card companies. Cryptocurrencies have constituted some of Wikileaks’ main donations ever since.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation, whose directors include Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden, Daniel Ellsberg and Laura Poitras, has a stated mission to promote aggressive public-interest journalism. It specifically seeks to expose corruption and law-breaking among government representatives. The group was responsible for raising the money needed to make Chelsea Manning’s court transcripts available to the press and public.
Mainframe, which seeks to develop an incentivized, censorship-proof platform for peer-to-peer communications, says that the donation represents a step towards greater security and privacy of user data. “The Mainframe team is thrilled to be supporting the Freedom of the Press Foundation,” said CEO Mick Haggen. “Ultimately, we expect the contribution to kickstart an ongoing relationship to preserve these ideals amidst the evolution of the digital landscape.”
“The Freedom of the Press Foundation is extremely grateful to Mainframe and their community for the generous support of our work,” said Trevor Timm, Executive Director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. “Mainframe shares our commitment to protecting privacy and free speech and is deeply engaged in furthering those basic human rights through their work.”
The Foundation says that the donation will be used to develop technology for the protection of journalists and activists. It currently leads development in “SecureDrop,” an open source platform for whistleblowers to leak information to journalists. SecureDrop is currently used by over sixty news organizations.
Editor’s Disclaimer: On the advice of our attorney, and because of the complicated nature of U.S. law regarding websites that report on financial instruments or securities (or whatever it is that cryptocurrencies may – or may not – eventually end up being, according to the FTC, the SEC, the IRS, the KGB, or whoever), we are required to note that the author is invested in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ether, which are mentioned in this article. You will find various other disclaimers all over the site. Yay, freedom.