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Can’t find a way to support a hacktivist with your l337 sK1LLz? Turns out they take tips, bitcoin tips. We mused awhile back about the emergence of bitcoin as a favorite underground currency. Now, on the heels of the latest announcement by “Anonymous” that they’re releasing personal data belonging to a defense contractor VP with connections to FBI’s Infraguard, we see, at the bottom of the announcement, a bitcoin address in case you want to support the effort.
Bitcoins are uniquely suited for anonymous donations (no pun there) due to their unregulated, decentralized design. They are a currency based, to a large extent, on very complex crypto calculations and limited supply to determine value, and are traded beyond the control of any organization, good or evil (or your perception of such). It happens that while this relieves the currency from potential government meddling, it also alleviates much hope of tracking those might do harm with it.
This isn’t new, currency has been used for good/evil since anyone has been keeping track. Money buys the same drugs that can either be used to cure sick people, or wreck people’s lives through addiction. Doesn’t matter if that is denominated in bitcoin or anything else, so pick your currency of choice. Euro, dollar, pound, yen, yuan or bitcoin, there’s a moral component involved in the equation.
Governments have found that a centralized regulated currency smoothes out the roller coaster ride some currencies have experienced throughout history. Hopefully it also acts to quell the efforts of those seeking to game the system with schemes like “pump and dump”, and other shenanigans. Financial policy has always stood at the confluence of influence of a myriad of stakeholders, bitcoin seeks to do away with all of this, for better or worse.
So what can you buy once you get your pile of bitcoins? Well, they don’t take them at Wal-Mart, but there’s a growing number of vendors that will allow you to purchase products or services using the currency. You can purchase such services as website design, socks from llama fiber, and more vague items like “security services.” As the list of vendors who accept bitcoin grows, the value and flexibility of the currency grows as well. Also, you can donate to causes, which now includes “Anonymous.”
Author Cameron Camp, ESET