Published on August 7th, 2013 by
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Bitcoin allowed Wikileaks to continue to receive donations after an extralegal political blockade prevented supporters from sending money to the organization via MasterCard, Visa or PayPal. One reason WordPress accepts Bitcoin payments for its premium service is that many bloggers live in countries that the credit card networks and PayPal do not serve, often for political reasons. “Financial transactions are speech,” according to John Perry Barlow, whose Freedom of the Press Foundation calls Bitcoin a potentially “censorship-resistant currency.” This panel will explore how peer-to-peer currencies like Bitcoin (combined with other crypto tools like the anonymized Tor web browser or encrypted emails) can help journalists, publishers, whistleblowers and politically disfavored groups resist or circumvent authoritarian measures. We will also address the limitations of these privacy-enhancing technologies.