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Re: Can I donate in bitcoin?

On 27/08/14 05:26, Russ Allbery wrote:
> martin f krafft <madduck@debian.org> writes:
>> The benefit of using Bitcoin for DebConf and sprints is to be able to
>> reimburse people without the costs of cash or international money
>> transfer. This is, in fact, one of the main ways I could see Debian use
>> Bitcoin.
> Ah, yes, that's a good point.  In other words, if someone is willing to
> take Bitcoin or some national currency that Debian does *not* generally
> hold, it may be cheaper or at least more efficient for the project to hold
> Bitcoin to reimburse those people instead of converting to either Bitcoin
> or the national currency in question.
> This would probably not come up for people who are happy to be reimbursed
> in USD or EUR, but could well come up for reimbursements in other
> currencies.

This makes sense but on its own it does not justify holding USD 5,000
equivalent in BTC

The volatility has to been seen as a cost, just like the transaction
costs of an electronic bank payment.  There are statistical models that
can be used to work out the cost as a percentage, e.g. to say that if
you buy BTC today, send it to your friend, he sends it to an exchange
and converts back to USD within 3 hours then you have the average cost
(e.g. 0.1%) but you also have the "black swan", the day the market
moves, and your friend actually gets 80% of the USD you started with.

So you have to say to people "we can send you USD $1000 and the bank
takes $20 and never more than $20 or we can send you BTC and the market
may take $10 or it may take $200 depending on how quickly you get your
BTC to the exchange".  As long as Debian explains it to people openly,
maybe there is no problem with that and each person makes an informed

In some parts of the world, banks still do take 10% or more of a
transaction and in those cases people may do all their international
payments with BTC because the long term expected losses on BTC trades
are lower than the 10% cost of their inefficient banking system.  This
would appear to be more valid for somebody who is making hundreds of
payments per year and they average out the currency gain/loss expense.

Please don't lose track of my other comment before - Debian can actually
offer to pay for some things (perhaps OPW) using nominal BTC amounts. 
In this case, there would be a legitimate reason to keep BTC (to be sure
Debian can still pay the person if the value of the BTC goes up
dramatically) but you also have to be sure that the promise of a BTC
payment will gain the confidence of the people applying to the program.

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