Amid protests, riots and overall unrest in the aftermath of a grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, the residents of Ferguson, Missouri, are finding solace in an unlikely place: the city’s public library.
Demonstrations in protest of the jury’s decision have been taking place all week in Ferguson and around the US, as people in major metropolitan areas across the nation show their solidarity. As a result, many local businesses in the St Louis suburb have closed their doors, and schools in the area have shut down for the week.
The Ferguson Public Library started to receive attention Tuesday for being one of the only local businesses still open to the public, and many who are closely following the situation in Ferguson as it dominates media outlets in the US took to social media to raise funds on behalf of the library.
The power of Twitter
One of the people that used his social media platform to call for donations to the library is prominent venture capitalist and bitcoin advocate Marc Andreessen.
After he sent a tweet directing his followers to donate to the Ferguson Public Library, Tom Kysar from decentralized crowdfunding platform Koinify responded by requesting the library accept bitcoin donations:
— Tom Kysar (@tomkysar) November 26, 2014
Not long after, the Ferguson Public Library’s Twitter account followed up by asking Kysar and Andreessen how it might go about setting up bitcoin donations, joking that its auditor “will enjoy figuring out BTC next year”.
Following the library’s curiosity, payment processor BitPay responded on Twitter offering to help the library set up to receive bitcoin:
An outpour of support
A number of people in the bitcoin community voiced their support for the Ferguson Public Library and its move to accept cryptocurrency donations. Reddit user /u/kysarkoin (presumably Koinify’s Kysar, mentioned above) urged redditors to show their support:
“We have the chance to really show what BTC is all about here. Donations, 100% going right to them. Most places in Ferguson are shut down right now (including the schools), they’re open every day running sessions for kids missing school, showers, WiFi, etc. They’re also working with the state to help businesses recover with lost documentation / paperwork and get back on their feet.”
Though the Ferguson Public Library sent a tweet assuring bitcoiners that it was currently working out some “glitches” earlier today, the library has since thanked everybody who has donated thus far (not only with bitcoin donations), announcing it has received more than 3,000 donations:
Overwhelmed by generosity from around the country. We have received donations from more than 3000 folks! Amazing and humbling! — Ferguson Library (@fergusonlibrary) November 26, 2014
Bitcoin donations to the Ferguson Public Library can be made here through BitPay.
Disclaimer: CoinDesk founder Shakil Khan is an investor in BitPay.