Square founder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced the launch of the Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund as a way to help protect Bitcoin developers.
Bitcoin developers are facing new legal threats on multiple fronts, impacting their ability to be innovative and continue developing for the Bitcoin network. As a staunch supporter of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, Dorsey wants to help provide legal protection to such developers, freeing them to focus on their projects.
Dorsey described his goal in a post to the Bitcoin Dev mailing list:
Litigation and continued threats are having their intended effect; individual defendants have chosen to capitulate in the absence of legal support. Open-source developers, who are often independent, are especially susceptible to legal pressure. In response, we propose a coordinated and formalized response to help defend developers. The Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund is a nonprofit entity that aims to minimize legal headaches that discourage software developers from actively developing Bitcoin and related projects such as the Lightning Network, Bitcoin privacy protocols, and the like.
Dorsey made it clear the fund will provide legal assistance to Bitcoin developers free-of-charge.
The main purpose of this Fund is to defend developers from lawsuits regarding their activities in the Bitcoin ecosystem, including finding and retaining defense counsel, developing litigation strategy, and paying legal bills. This is a free and voluntary option for developers to take advantage of if they so wish. The Fund will start with a corps of volunteer and part-time lawyers. The board of the Fund will be responsible for determining which lawsuits and defendants it will help defend.
One of the first things the fund will do is takeover “coordination of the existing defense of the Tulip Trading lawsuit against certain developers alleging breach of fiduciary duty and provide the source of funding for outside counsel.”
The Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund is likely welcome news to Bitcoin developers and should provide a measure of security.