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Jack Dorsey proposes legal defense fund for Bitcoin developers


Lawsuits are weighing on the Bitcoin ecosystem, and former Twitter head Jack Dorsey believes he can help fend them off. Quindisk Dorsey and Alex Morcus of Chaincode and academic Martin White report that they propose creating a non-profit legal defense fund for bitcoin developers to protect them from lawsuits and similar “legal pressures.” The fund’s board of directors (currently Dorsey, Morcus and White) will choose which cases to support, while providing volunteer and part-time attorneys to primary defense attorneys free of charge.

The fund will initially coordinate the defense against Tulip Trading’s lawsuit targeting developers over alleged breaches of fiduciary duty related to the long-dead Mt Gox Bitcoin exchange. Dorsey did not say how much money the fund should start, but indicated that he is not looking for additional money “at this time.”

Of course, Dorsey has direct incentives to create a legal defense fund. His firm Block is heavily involved in Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies, and the blockchain, and a series of lawsuits could taint his business as well as anyone else’s. However, Dorsey notes that many Bitcoin developers are independent and have no choice but to give in when faced with lawsuits, and they don’t have the resources to fight back. The nonprofit could be vital if it strengthens the bitcoin community as a whole, whether or not Dorsey benefits directly from his actions.

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