'Not an Investment': Internet Archive Defends Decision to Hold Bitcoin

The Internet Archive, the nonprofit dedicated to providing "open access to all knowledge," has spoken out on why it accepts bitcoin donations.

Sep 5, 2017 at 4:40 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 6:53 a.m. UTC

The Internet Archive, the nonprofit digital library dedicated to providing "open access to all knowledge," has spoken out on why it accepts – and holds onto – the bitcoin donations it receives.

In a recent blog post, the organisation spelled out that it includes the cryptocurrency on its balance sheets – alongside other means of donation, including zcash – "to be a living example of an organization that is trying this innovative internet technology."

The post continued:

"The Internet Archive explores how bitcoin and other internet innovations can be useful in the non-profit sphere – this is part of it. We want to see how donated bitcoin can be used, not just sold off. We are doing this publicly so others can learn from us. And it is fun. And it is interesting."

As a nonprofit, the archive has been accepting bitcoin donations since 2012, and has offered the digital asset as a salary option to employees since 2013. Local businesses around the Internet Archive office have also been encouraged to accept the currency – sometimes with success.

Rather than immediately exchange its bitcoin donations for fiat currency, however, the Internet Archive attempts to find ways to use them.

"What we are doing is trying to 'play the game' and see how it works for non-profits," the organization said. "It is not an investment for us, it is testing a technology in an open way."

Internet Archive server image from John Blyberg/Flickr

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