Oct. 8, 2011
Manchester, New Hampshire - The Free State Project is using the new online currency Bitcoin as a creative new
promotional tool – ironically giving away free money, literally, to every subscriber on its mailing list.
In one week, the non-profit organization – which is an effort to encourage 20,000 “liberty lovers” to move to New
Hampshire to work toward greater individual and economic freedom – will send a fraction of a Bitcoin to over fifteen-
thousand subscribers on its mailing list. Each recipient will get exactly 0.01 Bitcoins, worth approximately $0.04 at
current exchange rates.
The goal, as stated by Christopher Lawless, a Free State Project participant, is “primarily to inform our members that we
are now accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for donations and event registration fees, but also to raise awareness of
this new currency, which should be of interest for anyone who advocates liberty and voluntary exchange – principles at
the core of our project.”
Bitcoin is a decentralized digital commodity, which emerged as an open-source project in 2009. Its supply is controlled
by a hard-coded mathematical formula, as opposed to a central bank, and no person, company, or organization has
monopoly control over it (in contrast to every other online payment method). The system enables instant, direct
transfers between any two people, anywhere in the world, with avoidance of any bank or financial institution – and all
“The key is that this system is not transferring dollars, or euros, but instead an entirely new form of currency with a
floating exchange rate based purely on supply and demand,” explains Ira Miller of BTCinch, the Denver-based company
which built the email system for sending Bitcoins being used by the Free State Project. “Bitcoin is becoming an
international phenomenon, and we’re happy to see the Free State Project staying ahead of the curve.”
“This simply couldn’t have been done with US dollars and traditional banking systems,” says Roger Ver, the FSP member
who donated the Bitcoin funds for the promotion. “I currently live in Japan, and this initiative required transferring the
donation internationally, and then dividing that money into thousands of micropayments, all going to different people in
different places. A bank wire from Japan to the US would’ve taken at least three days plus fees. With Bitcoin it took less
than three seconds with no fees. Try to send someone a nickel with Paypal and you’ll find the fee itself is more than a
Bitcoin also permits recipients to maintain their financial privacy – a big concern in an age of identity theft and online
bank scams. In fact, the Free State Project doesn’t need any financial information of its members in order to send them
Bitcoins – all it needs is an email address.
“We’re hoping some of the gifts will be sent back as donations to us, but the more important goal was to find a creative
way to announce this new donation method to our members. Our eyes are on the long-term, the future, and Bitcoin is
very exciting for our project and human freedom in general,” says Lawless.
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The Free State Project is an agreement among 20,000 pro-liberty activists to move to New Hampshire, where they will
exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the
protection of life, liberty, and property.