Block founder and former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has just announced the launch of a “Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund” that seeks to protect developers from lawsuits.
Dorsey revealed that the fund aims to protect embattled Bitcoin developers from legal threats that imperil their ability to develop new projects on the Bitcoin network.
The tech entrepreneur wrote the proposal in an email dated Jan. 12 to the bitcoin-dev mailing list, shared on Twitter.
He points to a wave of “multi-front litigation” that harms Bitcoin development.
The Fund promises to extend legal support to anyone forced to yield to protracted legal fights over their work on Bitcoin.
“Litigation and continued threats are having their intended effect; individual defendants have chosen to capitulate in the absence of legal support,” the email states.
Dorsey makes reference to open-source developers who are often independent and, therefore, susceptible to legal pressure.
“We propose a coordinated and formalized response to help defend developers,” he adds.
The announcement went on to describe the Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund as a “nonprofit entity that aims to minimize legal headaches that discourage software developers from actively developing Bitcoin and related projects.”
“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,” Dorsey’s email states.
Initially, the fund will include volunteers and part-time lawyers for developers to “take advantage of if they so wish.”
However, the email also states that “the board of the Fund will be responsible for determining which lawsuits and defendants it will help defend.”
“At this time, the Fund is not seeking to raise additional money for its operations but will do so at the direction of the board if needed for further legal action or to pay for staff.”
According to the email, the fund’s first project will be to take over the existing defense of Ramona Ang’s “Tulip Trading Lawsuit” against developers for alleged misconduct over access to a Bitcoin (BTC) fortune.
Dorsey, who stepped down as Twitter’s CEO at the end of November 2021, is a long-time proponent of Bitcoin.
It remains unclear whether Dorsey left the social media firm to focus on Block’s (formerly Square) plans to develop a decentralized Bitcoin exchange.
On Nov. 19, the decentralized exchange project called tbDEX released a white paper detailing its plans to create a message protocol designed to facilitate trust relationships without relying on a federation to control access.