Dear Internet Archive, stop advocating for Dunning-Krugerrands.

Every now and then the Internet Archive posts some hype imploring people to donate to them in Bitcoin. Now, the Archive is a great organization, and one to whom I regularly donate actual cash money, but this is horrible and I wish they would stop.

The Archive, and their Siamese twin The Long Now Foundation, are putatively about long-term thinking, but there is little in the modern world more short-sighted than the Ponzi scheme of climate disaster that is the world of cryptocurrency.

Internet Archive, please knock that shit off. It's really not a good look on you.

They started accepting donations in these magic beans a while back, perhaps before the true toxicity of cryptocurrencies was widely understood. Back when it just seemed like a neat trick, like running wifi off of a potato battery.

Then someone donated $2M in bitcoin to them, and they've been fucking that potato ever since. Because at $2M, you call it Mister Potato, I guess. But here's the thing: how likely do you think it is that someone would say, "Well I was gonna give you a million bucks, but since you don't take Buttcorn, I guess I won't."

Right. They would convert their Earth-killing kilobux to "legacy" "fiat" currency and donate anyway -- unless the actual goal was to enlist you as a prop in a con being run against someone else entirely. HMMMMMM.

But keep fucking that potato. If you build a good enough tail section out of palm fronds, perhaps the sky gods with return with more cargo!

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8 Responses:

  1. thielges says:

    Well negapoints for encouraging mirage worship, but points for offering options. So many charities have gotten lazy, outsourcing their revenue collection to for-profit companies: Collection companies with long term goals to increase their own commission revenue. The only input port they open is one that requires credit cards and contact info so they can return to the source to for more donations. Once a highly respected human rights charity spent at least half of my donation badgering me via phone and physical mail. Not the efficient use of funds that makes a good charity.

    This year there was quite a spread in how a couple of media outlets would accept dough. One high profile national outlet with thousands of employees steers you towards credit charge per month trickle donations. There was no info on how to send a quasi anonymous check in the mail. The other media outlet with just a couple dozen part time staffers offered a whole list of ways to donate including physically dropping off a sack of cash on their desk. And bitcoin. While I don’t respect their use of BC their flexibility to accommodate donors is admirable especially given how threadbare their shoestrings are.

    • jwz says:

      Once a highly respected human rights charity spent at least half of my donation badgering me via phone and physical mail. Not the efficient use of funds that makes a good charity.

      This is absolutely infuriating, and true of literally every nonprofit I donate to, small or large. I used to try to contact them and say, "Hey, please use the money I gave you for things instead of for sending me full-color glossy paper ads asking for more money. I have and use email." But that never, ever, ever worked and I stopped trying.

      Fortunately I never make the mistake of giving anyone my phone number. 415-626-1409!

      • Jay says:

        There are workplace donation platforms like Bright Funds that allow anonymous donations. My company uses one of those so I feel a lot better about donating through there knowing they won't just burn my money trying to get more money from me. I have no idea how much they charge workplaces for the service of course.

  2. Jonny says:

    Bitcoin is useless to a business or charity for day to day operations. Most business and charities instantly covert any bitcoin into real money. They convert a non-money thing into money that a charity can use. You could also give a charity precious stones, or a bond, or stock, or a deed, and all sorts of others types of property, and money would take it all. The currencies and things of value they will accept isn't a statement on anything, it's just how we trade value in the system we are stuck with. Bitcoins might be a stupid, imaginary ponzi scheme that is awful for the environment, but a charity can sell them for money, just like they can sell some blood diamonds, or the stock in some shitty corporation, or even the uh, morally superior USD.

    I don't think The Internet Archive is an organization that needs to be taking moral stances on this. If some wants to give them their collection of encrypted bits that they can sell for real money, why say no?

    • jwz says:

      Sure, money is money, and while charities absolutely do sometimes refuse money from sources they oppose, it's rare.

      For example, RAICES refused a donation from Salesforce. For another example, ACLU did not refuse money from Peter Thiel but should have.

      So let's say you're a human rights organization. Posting a thing to your Twitter saying, "Hey, fans of blood diamonds! Thanks to our new partnership with Blood Diamondly, we can accept your donation in blood diamonds now!" Let's say you do that with the kind of wide-eyed credulity that suggests that you don't see that tacitly advocating for investment in blood diamonds is diametrically opposed to your mission.

      That's maybe not a good look on you.

      That's what I see when an organization about long-term thinking partners with these hopped-up 419 scammers.

      If IA were simply holding their nose, taking the money, and hoping nobody noticed and made a stink about it, sure, I could understand that. It doesn't even rise to the level of a charity saying, "Well, we don't like PayPal as a business, but we have to use them, it's not practical not to." No, that's not what's happening. They're putting out press releases about partnerships, and that cannot be interpreted as anything other than endorsement of the use of cryptocurrencies.

      • Aidan Gauland says:

        Oh, holy shit. I missed the partnership bit in the original post. I read that as them going, "Oh, hey, we accept Bitcoin now, by the way." (Because I am lazy and didn't follow your links.)

    • Jon Hendry says:

      I suppose bitcoin would be useful if the Internet Archive started archiving the sort of files that are sold for bitcoins.

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