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California’s authorities are after the Bitcoin Foundation

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There’s a new target on the California’s Department of Financial Institutions sight: Bitcoin Foundation. The institution received a ‘cease and desist order’ for allegedly engaging in the field of money transmission without a license or proper authorization granted by the U.S. Treasury Department.

If the authorities can prove that the nonprofit corporation is guilty of violating the California Financial Code, penalties can go from $1,000 to $2,500 per violation per day, but that’s not all of it. Besides the money, this could lead to the imprisonment of the responsible for the alleged crimes. And this is not even counting with a possible violation of the federal law.

Bitcoin Foundation is indeed involved with money, since its mission – to standardize and promote the open source Bitcoin protocol – can only be done thanks to the generous donations of some individuals and corporations.

However, the institution doesn’t engage in activities like “owning, controlling or conducting money transmission business”, according to Jon Matonis, who serves on the Board of Directors for the Bitcoin Foundation. This kind of activities “would be against the original charter of the foundation”, he adds.

What the Bitcoin Foundation is still trying to understand is if this was an isolated action or other Bitcoin-related entities have also received ‘cease and desist’ letters from the Department of Financial Institutions of California. This wouldn’t be a huge surprise, since a lot of institutions and companies have been receiving the same orders in different states and for the same reasons.

The North-American authorities have already assured before they’re not on a crusade against Bitcoin… Is this a game changer or has the game always been the same and we didn’t notice?


Maria is an experienced journalist currently living in the UK. She has been writing about Bitcoin and the altcoin universe since 2013. She is also a member of the Lifeboat Foundation's New Money Systems Board and a big cryptocurrency supporter.

View all Posts by Maria Santos

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