Occupy Wall Street Protesters Accepting Donations in Bitcoin; Big Test for the Controversial Virtual Currency
Feed the Protest, a media site affiliated with the anti-corporate "Occupy Wall Street" protests that have convulsed downtown New York in recent weeks, is now accepting donations in Bitcoin, the virtual currency. This comes after Paypal declined to complete donations to the site owner's account, reportedly over 8 year old charges made to his stolen debit card. So instead, Feed the Protest has been accepting donations in Bitcoin, starting September 27.
Since then, site spokesman "kh" tells me, "I think we've received about 56BTC so far and that's after I have sent 15 to my cohort to cash out for transportation costs." At current market exchange rates, one Bitcoin is worth about USD$5, so Bitcoin owners have given the cause only about $350 so far. Following analysis from Paul Krugman and Ed Castronova, I've expressed skepticism that Bitcoin, while interesting, could really be a viable currency, in great part because it doesn't seem to be used to buy that many actual goods and services. Given the anti-authoritarian nature of the Occupy Wall Street group and Bitcoin's supporters, this would seem to be a perfect overlap of ideology and functionality. It will be interesting to see how many Bitcoin owners will step up to donate to help the protest keep running.
Hat tip: Karl Stiefvater, who told me, "Here's why bitcoin is a big deal."