This week, the Electronic Frontier Foundation received a generous donation of 726 bitcoins – worth $95,070.73 in United States dollars.  See the blockchain transaction here.

This is in addition to over $7,000 USD we've received through Bitcoin donations in the last couple weeks.

We wanted to extend our heartfelt appreciation to the Bitcoin community for its steadfast support of our work and explain the unique story behind this particular donation. Above all, we want to commit to using this donation to promote liberty in the digital world. We’ll be using this money to support our impact litigation, advocacy, and technical projects that defend individual privacy, combat government surveillance, support free expression, and promote innovation.

Where did this money come from?  

This donation is actually the result of many different donors who helped support our work when we were briefly accepting bitcoins in 2011.  At the time, the community donated around 3,505 BTC to us. (Rumors that we received a donation of 20,000 BTC are false.)  After further examination of the issue, we decided to to stop accepting Bitcoin donations and to dispose of the collected funds.

Rather than simply destroy these bitcoins, we chose to return them to the Bitcoin community via the Bitcoin Faucet – a gradual dissemination that would not inadvertently upset the market. The Bitcoin Faucet, run by lead Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen, is a community service that dispenses a small percentage of a bitcoin to site visitors every twenty-four hours. It is a way for new Bitcoin users to practice setting up a wallet and learn about this digital currency.  For over a year, the EFF bitcoins helped fuel the Bitcoin Faucet. 

However, several months ago the Bitcoin Faucet was closed down due to repeated problems with attempted fraud.

Some of these remaining bitcoins were used to reimburse Bitcoin mining pools that suffered financial losses during a blockchain fork. Additionally, about 150 BTC of Faucet funds were also given to the Minecraft Faucet and the "Exchange Reddit Karma for Bitcoins" project.

However, there were still over 700 bitcoins remaining from EFF’s original contribution, and no easy way to redistribute them equitably to the Bitcoin community.

Recently, EFF announced that we will resume Bitcoin donations on our website, using an intermediary service called BitPay.  Gavin Andresen then returned all of these remaining bitcoins to us, stating:

I’m satisfied to see these bitcoins will be used as they were intended – as a donation to support the work of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The Bitcoin Faucet was happy to receive the funds, but we are particularly glad to see them used as they were originally intended.

Due to changes in the price of a bitcoin, the value of these bitcoins is as much as or more than EFF would have received if we had sold all of the coins we originally received soon after they were first donated.