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Pineapple Fund: Donating $86M of Bitcoins to Charity (pineapplefund.org)
430 points by apo on Dec 13, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 213 comments

Watsi cofounder here. We're extremely grateful for this support. It's going to enable us to help a lot of patients access healthcare. I also think it's great for the crypto community as a whole. Thank you, Pineapple!

Do you immediately convert to USD (or whatever currency) and spend, or do you hold as an investment?

Holding for a charitable organization would not be an investment, but speculation, and would be irresponsible, in my humble opinion (because you’re gambling with donations). The people who choose to donate should get full value from their donation. So, until one can buy goods with bitcoin and pay omes employees with it, holding it when you have an obligation to buy something with it amounts to speculation.

You can do all of these things already. In Europe at least. I have a TenX debit card that I can use everywhere VISA is accepted! Bought iphone and car with it

That's not spending BTC on something, that's selling BTC then buying things in your local currency.

Until prices are regularly set (and stable) in BTC, holding 80+M in BTC is a huge risk.

But I don't have to go through coinbase or whatever in order to buy it. I can hold Bitcoin, and if I feel like I want to buy something I can do so.

If I order something with my CC in the US, prices are also denoted in dollars. But it withdraws from my Euro account with respect to a specific conversion rate.

You're holding BTC, then selling to get dollars and buying in dollars, effectively.

> If I order something with my CC in the US, prices are also denoted in dollars. But it withdraws from my Euro account with respect to a specific conversion rate.

Yes, and here you're holding Euros and selling them to buy dollars to buy items.

Similarly, if you were mostly doing business in the US, picking a different fiat currency to hold your money in would be a risk and that risk would increase the more volatile the exchange rate is.

The key point here is that until the prices you're paying are stable values in BTC, there's significant risk in holding a currency different to what your contracts are in. If I have $10,000 dollars and have a contract that requires me to pay out $5,000 dollars next year I know I have enough. If I have 0.5 BTC and the same contract then I do not know if I have enough.

I guess spending $84 mln is quite different from just buying an iPhone

What he is saying is you can hold BTC and then when you spend it, the BTC gets converted to fiat at the time you spend it. In other words, you can save in BTC instead of immediately converting to fiat. This allows you to take advantage of BTC's deflationary attributes.

Thank you for what you do. Donating to Watsi and getting the updates about people that I've helped is one of the highlights of my day to day life.

Shameless plug for Watsi incoming... Consider donating monthly. They don't spam you and your money is going to a great cause. https://watsi.org/monthly

I simply love Watsi, you guys are so transparent with your financials. I hope you guys start accepting cryptocurrencies soon.

To the person running this, if you really want to remain anonymous, be careful not to write too much. You can be outed by textual stylometrics.

If someone determines my identity through textual stylometics, finds me, manages to get me to reveal how to get my bitcoin, and then kills me I won’t even be mad. Just impressed.

That's always why I have a good laugh when someone comes out claiming to be Satoshi when they end their sentences with only a single space after a period. If you wanted to come out as Bitcoin's creator, you'd have used 2 spaces...

I think that just shows the age of the person. I learned how to type correctly on a typewriter, and that is the way that we learned. It means, for me, that SN, like me, was educated in the 70's and 80's, and formally learned how to type.

Disclosure : Am not satoshi.

I didn't learn how to type on a typewriter, but it was still considered proper formatting to use two spaces after a period when I went to school, and I used two spaces after a period for a really long time on the internet. I finally got out of the habit awhile back.

Likewise. Learned 'typing' in 2nd grade in '95 alongside logo programming.

I got my first typewriter when i was nine, and started programming when i was 10 back in early 80's. But i didn't formally learn how to type until i had a school subject for it when i was 15. It was the best thing i could possibly have done. By the end of the course i could type error free at 65 words a minute. Now i can type faster than i can speak. I can't recommend it enough.

It's so ingrained for me I probably won't ever stop. Unless I'm on a phone that does automatic spacing. The fact that you stopped to me indicates you probably didn't do it that way for 20 years.

I was educated in the 90's and not on a typewriter. I use two spaces.

There's likely more at play than just typewriter vs non-typewriter.

The anecdote I heard was that the extra space made it more clear when sentences were ending based on how the fixed-width typeface would read. With proportional fonts the spacing is already clear enough with 1 space, and that has become the conventional thing. So adding the extra space creates too much space now. It certainly sends a signal to me that the person has absorbed a “rule”, but not its purpose, which I think doesn’t reflect well on that person. But on the whole that’s a minor side note and I try to not go overboard interpreting details like that.

> With proportional fonts the spacing is already clear enough with 1 space.

That's your opinion, and a bizarre one at that, since one-space isn't any more clear in a proportional font than a non-proportional font. Proportional fonts help pack letters within a word, not pack words within/between sentences.

> It certainly sends a signal to me that the person has absorbed a “rule”, but not its purpose,

It sends a signal to me that a person looks for bizarre ways to feel superior to others, instead of trying to understand why someone behaves differently.

> Proportional fonts help pack letters within a word, not pack words within/between sentences.

I was probably wrong to try and fuzzily remember an anecdote rather than look it up :) but my understanding was that in a proportional font the combination of a period and space was good enough to show the end of the sentence clearly for whatever reason.

> It sends a signal to me that a person looks for bizarre ways to feel superior to others, instead of trying to understand why someone behaves differently.

This is fair. Though I promise I don’t feel superior to pretty much anybody if that helps. Learning about this actually came from wondering why some people used two spaces after sentences, not starting out judgmental. I think I was mainly thinking of formal contexts where you would already be judging somebody's choices (resume, professional portfolio, publications) more so than just random language use in comments or whatever. But I didn't put my finger on that last night!

I had this uneasiness writing my own comment and reading your comment, and did some actual reading this morning, and this turns out to be one of those things where the story I absorbed about it was too simple. There seems to be ongoing debate about this just like everything else, and even though most publishers and editors prefer 1 space after a sentence. I had though I heard that spaces after periods actually render a little wider anyway but that seems to be wrong?

I knew I worded my comment kind of badly and probably shouldn’t have made it in the first place. But at lest posting it helped me get corrected on my assumptions.

Except the fact that the two spaces before a period far predate the typewriter.

Wider sentence spacing certainly predates the typewriter, but the question then was not "how many spaces" but "how much space".

Someone writing by hand obviously does not count a discrete number of spaces, and a cold-metal typesetter has a wide variety of spaces available: they might use a one-and-a-half-en space (either a single piece of type or an en space followed by a half-en space) or an em space.

It must have been the introduction of the typewriter that brought the idea of "two spaces" instead of "wider space".

> It must have been the introduction of the typewriter that brought the idea of "two spaces" instead of "wider space".

Come to think about it, why not the movable type printing press as the starting point?

(please ignore this, I apparently didn't read your comment fully!)

You only used one space in this comment ;)

I wonder if that gets changed by the site or something. I remember thinking "I better be sure to use two spaces otherwise someone will call me out on it."

Here's a test. I definitely put two spaces prior to this sentence.

EDIT - indeed it seems that HN changes the spacing.

Check the source.

Curious, what are the reasons to prefer one-space-after-period over two? Regardless of old or new medium, proportional or monospaced font, I find it more legible when there's more space between sentences. Sometimes periods find themselves within a sentence (especially in technical writing), so ideally that would have a different markup I guess.

HTML frustrates me; I don't know why it defaults to collapsing spaces, when so often my spaces are intentionally semantic.

Not that anyone will ever change their mind about this, but here's a good justification of the correct usage.

"Two Spaces After a Period: Why You Should Never, Ever Do It": http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2011/01/...

And here's a great response to that article.

"Why two spaces after a period isn’t wrong (or, the lies typographers tell about history)"


The reduction of whitespace in HTML is there to allow you to split text as desired in the source file without adding unintentional newlines/tabs/whatever -- it all just gets collapsed to a single space. (Outside of pre-styled tags at least)

I learned on a typewriter (early 90's), and when I moved to a computer (I was poor and really didn't have access to one growing up) I initially used double spaces after the period, but at some point I switched.

I also went a long time double-spacing and can't remember when I made the switch. I don't think it was a conscious decision. Wonder what prompted it.

They still taught double space after period in typing class in the late 90s.

It has been a difficult habit for me to break.

Counting spaces... story checks out.

I’be been waiting for someone to do a cross analysis of HN comments to identify potential sock puppets.

I imagine the results would be just brutal, and no surprise to anyone.

That's only assuming that they have a corpus of other writing out there on the internet which is linkable to their real life identity.

That would help for sure, but it need not be assumed. There are other collections of text besides the public internet. Some of which are only accessible by certain entities and certain of their employees, to be sure, but still extant. Email, for example.

Note I’m not implying the person has done anything wrong... on the contrary. But someone with a large quantity of BTC has reasons to be wary of rogue actors.

What's the play here? Let's assume the NSA or CIA has archives of everyones emails. Would the IRS troll that to try to find out who has all this money so they can properly tax it?

I think this is one of the greatest example of effective altruism, the world has seen to date. As a student of this subject, I would like to suggest a minor improvement in this project, an image of pineapple for the favicon.


Who is going to be the first to submit the Pull Request? :)


Haha I was just about to suggest that!

People spend their entire lives focused on wealth accumulation.

Bitcoin has endowed many people with financial means in a way completely orthogonal to their day-to-day work. Say what you will about bubbles, but this "fund manager's" perspective is healthy check on reality.

While true, as someone with a number of friends just now "getting into" bitcoin, I find the zero sum aspect of it troubling. Assuming a crash/correction is coming, most of the wealth that accrued to the early adopters will be at the expense of these later, less-informed "investors" who bought in thinking it was a no fail quick buck.

This a 100 times.

The crypto currency hype only (or at least mainly) redistributes wealth, in my eyes to (tech savvy) people-with-means-already.

Yes there might be empowering stories of "smart single moms" making serious money by betting on Bitcoin, but as a whole it only enlarges income equality between people, arguably one of the issues of our time.

But who does it redistribute the wealth from? Is it broke people, people working several jobs on minimum wage, people who have to use food pantries, people trapped in debt? Not at all. It's people who already have a bunch of liquid assets to play with. People who have earned decent money, saved it and previously were invested in the stock market, gold, savings accounts. Not necessarily rich people (not just rich people), but well-off people who have money they don't need sitting around.

I am young, have a high income and a tiny net worth. I got lucky by buying a tiny amount of bitcoin a few years ago purely because I was interested in the tech. There's lots of things about my situation, and the situation of other people in my society which are unfair. But baby-boomers with nest eggs cashing me out because they feel entitled to make an easy buck and are buying something they don't understand doesn't seem like the most important injustice.

> But baby-boomers with nest eggs cashing me out because they feel entitled to make an easy buck and are buying something they don't understand doesn't seem like the most important injustice.

That's condescending, hypocritical bullshit. Why do you feel entitled to "cashing out" on their savings because you're tech savvy?

> Not necessarily rich people (not just rich people), but well-off people who have money they don't need sitting around.

This is straight up delusional. I'm appalled that you would spend so much time describing who you think invests in cryptocurrencies, just to justify yourself profiting off them. Actually, most people who invest in the stock market know better than to get involved with bitcoin. Most people who hyped its value lately are the kind of people who have no idea what's about, invest poorly and have fewer funds. [1]

So yes, most likely your profit came from "broke people, people working several jobs on minimum wage, people who have to use food pantries, people trapped in debt". At least don't try to pretend it's otherwise.

[1] https://www.engadget.com/amp/2017/12/12/bitcoin-mania-mortag...

> Is it broke people, people working several jobs on minimum wage, ... people trapped in debt?

At least in Europe, it is not uncommon that bank/pension/state funds (in effect: everybody's money) buy in latest to these stocks.

Allocating resources in society is a hard problem, and capital markets overall provide a valuable service in deciding where resources should go. But when some of these markets function more or less like a lottery (or ponzi scheme), I don't see why a society should support (or even worse: idolize) its participants.

"no fail quick buck"? If you listen to mass media for the last several years whenever they mention bitcoin they tell you it's an incredibly risky investment.

Yes, but at the same time you hear 30-100% gains in the span of one day and people going "I just bought a lamborghini" - survivorship bias and all that.

I don't know - whenever I read about bitcoin rising it is immediately followed by something like "last thursday bitcon went down by 20%" so people who only read that will get the impression that it's dangerous to invest.

That’s how markets work. Early adopters take risks that pay off when late-comers try to bet on a proven winner.

Not with Bitcoin.

Satoshi designed the supply to rapidly mint the majority of coins to the smallest group of users for the least amount of effort/capital/work input.

It's designed to manipulate any user who joins the system after you.

Satoshi could easily have chosen a linear curve to align with time, user growth, and increase in work input yet instead the manipulative log curve was chosen.

Old users are now incentived to attempt to psychologically exploit new people by selling the asset for far more than the cost of production or acquisition.

You bring this up in every crypto thread. Do you have an alternative suggestion as to how it should work that could actually be implemented now in a new crypto?

A linear distribution curve that matches work/watt input. This modestly levels the playing field, although it simply allows existing capital to match the input/output. Satoshi style curves are both capital dependent and skewed disproportionately to the first to arrive within the tiny timeframe.

Anti-sybil attacks would be immensely beneficial. Encouragement of honest economic activity. Scaling of bandwidth and fees.

The ideal solution is a PoW that is computationally useful and desirable, BOINC, folding@home. Ethereum almost does this, but PoW algos as they exist now are anti-scale by design, where increasing computational power does not improve the network at all.

The foreseeable longevity of PoW is ungodly waste, when a world wide distributed computing network has potential far far beyond brute force hash puzzles.

Isn't it fundamentally a bootstrapping problem? A state can reasonably presume to sell a new currency in exchange for older (or foreign) currency— this is similar to issuing a bond or whatever else to raise money. And there's a guarantee of value in the sense that the state will accept the currency later on as your taxes.

The Bitcoin network/ecosystem has nothing to offer in this sense— there's no plausible reason for it to be "raising" money by direct sales, and no one owes it taxes. So the initial tokens were distributed based on the fact that they were mined by early adopters before the difficulty got to be too great. There is indeed a basic unfairness in this, but it's not obvious to me how to resolve it for future projects of this kind.

no, it is not how normal markets work. a stock, bond, real estate "generates income". that's why it has value. bitcoin does not.

A) Bitoin is not a stock, it's a currency. It'ss value lies in its utility.

B) There are (a lot of) stocks that do not pay dividends and never will. There are a lot of stocks that were issued by companies that never made a profit. Both of those categories are traded with a value above zero, how do you explain that?

Bitcoin has absolutely no utility as a currency. Look at the current mempool [0] to see why.

People then switch to arguing that it's a great store of value. Given its volatility this makes no sense.

[0]: https://jochen-hoenicke.de/queue/#24h

To clarify: Bitcoin is deeply flawed, and I agree with you that Bitcoin is probably worth less than many people speculate it is worth (but not zero).

Cryptocurrencies in general have a lot of utility and solve real problems.

And yet they introduce a lot of new problems too - problems that have been solved by traditional currencies a while ago. Problems like exchange security and protection to citizens. If my bank goes bankrupt for whatever reason, the government has an insurance for up to 100K for me. When mtgox went down, everyone lost their money.

I'm not sure I agree here. Those are definitely real issues that you've highlighted, but they're not because of crypto currency.

There's no reason that a crypto-exchange cannot be as secure as a bank (or more), and that governments cannot insure crypto deposits up to some value. Those are purely problems for regulators/governments, which have been relatively slow to adapt legislation.

The problems you highlight are real, and can be good reasons to favour traditional currencies, but they're also easy problems to solve - the thinking has already been done once for traditional currencies and the solutions for crypto are mostly identical.

Bitcoin Cash fixes that by following the original vision articulated by Satoshi.

Hahaha, you mean the vision where one wealthy elite gets even MORE power than everyone else?

I suppose it could be even worse though, it could be the upcoming UB fork.

>Bitoin is not a stock, it's a currency. It'ss value lies in its utility.


Bitcoin's current transaction fee is like $20, and the value of Bitcoin itself has gone up 25% in the past week alone. If I bought a pizza last week using $20 worth of Dunning-Krugerrands, that same pizza would be $25 this week for no reason. That alone makes it useless as a currency.

B) It's straightforward - those companies are very often bought by other companies (because they have intrinsic value). The buyer purchases all of the shares from the shareholders (usually in cash), which realizes the value of the company.

You can say all those things about currency as well.

Someone buys it at a certain price (because it has intrinsic value), which realizes the value of the currency.

It doesn't matter if a company isn't making a profit. It still has assets - whether physical, intellectual, goodwill, brand, or anything else. If you own stocks in a company you literally own a part of all of these.

That would mean that the value of the stock would be decoupled from financial success of the company, which is clearly not the case. A company with very few assets and record profits every quarter will have an expensive stock price.

One wonders what they're doing with all those profits then. Seems like they would either reinvest in the company (accumulating assets), put it in the bank (fairly literally accumulating assets), or pay it out to shareholders (perhaps the most straightforward way in which stocks are worth money).

A company may also have debts that outweigh the value of their assets.

the guy I was replying to was saying a ponzi scheme is how markets work, which is definitely not true.

a) this is valid point, but bitcoin is failing currency. if there was a central authority then its value would have been stabilized. never gonna happen with bitcoin.

b) expected income. for bitcoin, it's nil for ever. don't confuse investment with speculation.

You completely mischaracterized my statement. Also, you don’t know what a Ponzi scheme is.

I said that early adopters take risks that pay off when conservative investors are looking for safe plays.

Seriously, shame on you.

i take back what i said. i apologize. i read it not as a general statement but as a defense on bitcoin. taking risk on something that does not have any income potential and passing it off to late joiners is very essence of ponzi scheme.

Fair enough. We’re cool, then!

Amazon stock actually doesn't generate income on purpose for tax reasons. They reinvest almost 100% back into the company and by appreciating the stock price the shareholders and employees get to sell stock and only get hit for capital gains tax. This is almost exactly how Bitcoin works.

>This is almost exactly how Bitcoin works.

The difference is that if amazon is worth let's say 50 billion and they have 10 billion revenue and 9 billion operating costs then not paying out the excess 1 billion as dividends doesn't mean they magically disappear. A 50 billion company with 1 billion in the bank account is in reality a 51 billion company.

When a dividend is paid out the value of the stock is reduced by exactly the amount that is paid out. If the money is used to buy more delivery infrastructure (trucks, buildings) the value of the stock remains the same. From the perspective of a share holder who can sell his shares to someone else nothing has changed. You either have 50€ worth of stock plus 1€ or 51€ worth of stock.

With bitcoin there is no revenue that can be paid out or be invested. If bitcoin goes "bankrupt" what assets can you liquidate to obtain at least a fraction of it's value? How does it work?

you are confusing between investment and speculation. buying amazon stock with an outlook for income potential is an investment. buying something that has no way of recouping investment other than capital appreciation is speculation. even if amazon pay zero dividend now, you own something that has potential to pay back to you. bitcoin has no income potential whatsoever.

It doesn't have to be a "bet" on a proven winner. Later investors can simply accept lower returns from a proven winner.

Another view is that markets are not about gambling but rather investing? For example, index matched funds grow because the economy of the world, as a whole, is growing.

Index funds are pegged to a lot of activities that look like gambling, but the risks are somewhat hedged by a limited kind of diversification. It’s like betting every blackjack hand in the house at once (setting aside the house’s favorable odds).

Huh? If I have an S&P 500 Index fund, how is that an activity that looks like gambling, or has a limited kind of diversification?

It's narrow index funds that are gambling. Not all index funds.

That is the theory. The practice is that markets crash and people cannot retire anymore. A lot like gambling

Markets can recover. If you invest in stock you have to consider that you may not be able to liquidate it within the next 10 years. What if the markets don't recover? If they don't recover you will have far larger problems than your stock portfolio being in the red. The machines and people don't just disappear unless there is a war.

Even if you fail to do that as long as you have started investing sufficiently early enough - let's say 30 years before retirement (around 35 years old) - you probably have experienced at least one recession and recovery until retirement. If suddenly markets crash during retirement by 50% on an asset that is up by 150% does it matter? You still got away with a profit.

And nobody forces you to liquidate everything at once. So sure if you plan to draw out 4% of your stocks you will have decreased your portfolio by 8% every year.

Hi, creator of the Pineapple Fund here (pineapplefund.org/verification.txt)

I am actually quite sad to see the current state of the cryptocurrency community, and how people in it these days widely misrepresent the risk and intricacies of bitcoin/crypto.

When I first got into bitcoin, most people were there because they were fascinated in building a decentralized currency. Profit seeking was always a part, but not the predominant part.

I'm a little bit sad to see where crypto is today. But I think the original faction is still alive.

Not everyone will be able to profit off of bitcoin. Worse, those who will, will do so at the expense of everyone else.

There's only two ways this bubble will burst:

1. Inflation: the value of fiat currencies drops to match the supposed value of bitcoin, which negatively affects everyone

2. Only the first people to cash out actually turn a profit. Every other person who invested will lose everything.

Either way, the money you now made from bitcoin, came from people who will probably lose their savings contributing to the bubble.

How do you see the current risks present in bitcoin/crypto? How should it be represented? Genuine question.

bitcoin is just extortion on craze of the crowd. if no income is been generated by it, then its value is arbitrary. an investment asset needs a cash flow to repay investment and then some. bitcoin has none. i admit bitcoin is not the only asset that has this characteristic.

Apparently the Pineapple Fund has also donated $50.000 to the OpenBSD Foundation: https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/7jj0oa/im_donating...

I thought the Pineapple Fund donated bitcoin, not dollars?

Same criticism to the headline of this thing - it's an X amount of bitcoin, not a dollar amount which will be outdated within the hour.

I don't follow bitcoin much, but shouldn't every popular community project be essentially swimming with cash (or at least bitcoin) these days? On the other hand I guess the same could be said about the tech boom.

It's hard to sell large amounts of bitcoin. Most banks, when they see an incoming wire transfer for $10M marked "bitcoin" will run a mile and close down your account.

Hopefully by 'donating' it to these charities, who will probably choose to sell slowly over time or hold it, that alleviates the problem.

HSBC literally told drug cartels how to alter forms in order to bypass security scans done to detect money laundering.

It's safe to assume that not all banks are as altruistic as one would hope.

I've sold and transferred more than $800K over the course of 3 days. I had no problem. This was from Gemini to a US Bank

Very interested in the bank name.

I closed the account, so I don't think I have to be paranoid about it. The bank was ally.com . My lawyer recommended it to me as hassle free.

I didn't sell a ton, but I got a call from my bank about the first deposit from Coinbase. They asked how I came about the funds, where my initial investment came from (employment) and that was it.

Though my bank did invest in Coinbase so they are probably pretty ahead of the times.

Isn't that also mandatory for them to ask from the government / IRS point of view?

I'm not really sure, over $10k they are obligated to file suspicious activity reports if warranted, so they might have been doing due diligence.

A number of donor-advised funds accept BTC contributions (and take care of converting to USD). This also avoids realizing capital gains, and allows it to be immediately converted to USD before the value crashes while allowing the decision of which charity to donate funds to to be deferred.

[citation needed]

Can confirm first hand this is a serious issue in the industry. There are finally a couple crypto-friendly banks making it easier for holders and businesses. Source- have run a BTC co since 2014.

your mistake was calling it a BTC co.

talking with bankers is an art. I have plenty of "software services" that primarily transact in bitcoin and cash out to bank accounts from bitcoin exchanges.

How much do you exchange though? There seems to be some kind of hard wall at £100k in the UK, and anything more than that seems to get a personal call from a fraud investigator who demands documents proving what money was moved, where it came from, where it is going to, who it is for, and what was bought or sold with receipts etc.

Do 10 payments for £10k each, and you'll usually get the same call.

If the word bitcoin is mentioned, even once, then you'll get a letter saying "Dear Mrs X, We are withdrawing financial services from you, and your account is now closed".

This even happened on two so called "bitcoin friendly" banks...

Do you at least get to withdraw your cash, or do they just steal it?

You usually get to withdraw a reasonable amount of living expenses (for which you need to produce receipts - they let me have £100, which is nowhere near enough to live on). They said after 1 year I could have the rest back. I've got 3 months left to wait...

yeah I've heard those kind of things about UK banks

its easy to get this problem in the US but I know how to navigate it here, all of my bank statements have the transactions as listed as BTC somewhere. Coinbase tx's have BTC in the statement line item, some of my OTC exchanges do too.

Dear Rich Pineapple:

Congrats on your huge BTC surplus!

To make the biggest difference, consider looking into Effective Altruism[1] (an idea, not a charity) if you haven't already. Their motto is “using reason and evidence to do the most good”.

Perhaps do away with the charity proposal form, and instead choose one or several of the most effective charities as ranked by GiveWell.org[2] (who do rigorous effectiveness analysis). OpenPhilanthropy[3] is a charity that takes the EA perspective.

Unfortunately, seemingly worthy charities are often orders of magnitude less effective than the few most effective causes. Charity evaluators like GiveWell help us find the gems that can leverage our money many times more effectively.

For more info about Effective Altruism, listen to Tim Ferriss[4] and Sam Harris[5] interview the co-founder of Effective Altruism, check out this NYT piece[6], or read Doing Good Better[7].

[1] https://www.effectivealtruism.org/

[2] https://www.givewell.org/

[3] https://www.openphilanthropy.org/

[4] http://tim.blog/2015/11/22/will-macaskill/

[5] https://www.samharris.org/podcast/item/being-good-and-doing-...

[6] https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/upshot/effective-altruism...

[7] https://www.amazon.com/Doing-Good-Better-Effective-Altruism/...

Agreed. With the enourmous cuts in science funds nowadays one can make a big difference by, for instance, fueling cash into research in virtually any area. The achievements can still be watched within a lifetime.

I think he needs charities that are willing to take BTC.

Bitpay will act as a middleman for charities.

I suspect you're handing over a lot of vig to Bitpay these days given the volatility in BTC.

An individual whose BTC holdings (that they are willing to give away) are worth almost 100 million. Mind blown...

Back in early 2011 when I started looking at Bitcoin, they were worth 0.70 each. I talked to people who had 100,000 BTC that they’d mined in the early days on their CPU. For kicks. Some of them are still holding it.

Even in the CPU mining days, 100,000 was a lot. I think this is typical of many embellished Bitcoin stories. Several times I've had people tell me they 'should have bought at $#.##", so I ask them how they heard about Bitcoin. It's usually the "10,000 BTC Pizza" or a news story about Silk Road, or even the Nov 2013 bubble. At any rate, the actual price when they first heard about Bitcoin is often very different from what they remembered.

It's very likely there are fewer than a dozen people that have ever held >100,000 Bitcoins. That would take two weeks of mining every single block in the days of 50BTC coinbase rewards. Reasonable estimations of Satoshi's mining vs. others in the pre-GPU days makes 100,000 very tight for more than a few individuals. This would also require continuous mining for several months unless you were the only person mining (which isn't the case for anyone but Satoshi). Hardly 'for kicks'.

If you look in old forum threads, you'll see that many people mining in 2009 and 2010 mined several blocks over few days or weeks of mining. That would net a few hundred coins, and sometimes a few thousand. The majority of mining was done this way. The opportunity for many individuals to mine 100,000 simply was not there. If you actually talked to more than one individual who did this, you probably met 2 out of the 3 biggest Bitcoin miners ever.

Wait, you're trying to tell me you knew people who were paper (ledger?) billionaires and were willing to disclose that? Nuts

They were not billionaires when the price was 0.70

crazy pills. I hope they at least cashed out some.

Congrats on your fortune. This is a very honorable thing to do.

But my real question is: How on earth did you manage to resist selling your holdings for such a long time after you crossed the $1MM mark? That's some superhuman level of self control.

It's pretty much in the (sub)title of the page: "Because once you have enough money, money doesn't matter."

Yes but you can only really "have enough" once you've cashed out into a medium that has a negligible risk of being worth nothing. It still takes major cojones to leave that much in BTC for so long, thus my kudos

You can cash out half when it's enough and let the other half grow thousand times or go to 0 without caring.

I have no idea if that happened here.

What are the tax implications for something like this? I assume some or all of the donation itself could be a write off, but isn’t he subject to income tax on the initial gains?

At least one important thing will happen as a result of this person's effort. Probably many great things no one expected.

The world needs a lot more people like this. The example being set here should be emulated by many others.

I hope that the charity looks to sell or hedge some of this....

Well, now that we have a futures market...

The brilliance of this is not just that he's donating to charity which is great of course but that he managed to hold for so long.

hello, I have a problem few months ago I had an accident because of drivers of trucks, and I had surgery on the spine, but the doctors say we need to do the surgery but I have no money to pay for operations, 75000 $ https://goo.gl/g7bj5U and can not decide -- https://prnt.sc/hn57gv-, I got into an accident and after operations could not walk, and I asked the doctors to have an operation again on a spine that I would go as before, but the doctors require 75,000 dollars that is 5 btc ,this my video and photos before the crashes https://youtu.be/ZtWKigANVxs -- https://prnt.sc/hn5g6w-- https://prnt.sc/hn5ge0--https://prnt.sc/hn5hfe ,,, I have no hope left but found you and now I have the last hope or God sent you to Christmas, sorry if you do not understand me, I used the translator google, I muslim in Kazakhstan live, help if can, and if you do not want to help at least answer me to me luysta, I'm waiting for your answer, thank you good people and good luck in your life and your children, thank you bitcoin address 18Fgt1N2oePgtBaD5s7B8mjXUkCpyshjRZ

I love that its anonymous and simple and the donations are transparent. Does anyone by chance know if there are restrictions on charities receiving anonymous bitcoin donations?

Can someone explain this to me? Where did this BTC come from? There was a single deposit on 12/8 of like 5k BTC. Since then there have been withdrawls from that address.


I'm not sure I understand your question, but there are multiple addresses for the 5K btc transaction to that address.

The Free Software Foundation needs some donations right now. I hope they get a little help.

This is so inspiring. Thank you.

I'm curious - is this making charitable donations in lieu of taxes on the gains?

I think you should do a little research on how cap gains taxes interact with charity, it's not how you think.

Do you know differently or it's different in your area - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15919075 ?

you can donate appreciated assets to registered charities and this does allow you to avoid the capital tax AND also get a charitable tax deduction

This is limited to 30% of your income ("AGI"), however.

(I am not your tax advisor. Please don't take tax advice from random internet people.)

I am not curious. One could be buying up through bred horses or $$$ paintings to avoid tax. I much prefer this kind of financial maneuvering to avoid paying tax. Well done.

How would you avoid tax by buying horses or paintings?

I think I remember hearing about a common trick of buying a painting, holding it for a while, getting it appraised by someone who deems that the value has gone up to a bigger amount, donating the painting, and then you get tax breaks based on the appraised value, even if that appraised value is much higher than anyone else is actually interested in paying.

Granted, I can't remember if you're supposed to actually be able to turn a profit by doing this trick, or if it just makes it a little cheaper for rich people who want to temporarily own fancy things.

It’s harder to do in the US, but many European countries treat gains on art and real estate etc. very differently than gains on share prices.

You don’t. Those are considered collectible items and actually get taxed at a higher rate than other property.

Speaking of charities, are most of them transparent and accountable with the funds they receive? I’d like to see a ledger of where every cent given to charity was used / spent.

This is often a difficult question to find an answer for and a lot of the other metrics for determining charity effectiveness are pretty limited.

Give well is a meta-charity that tries to find out which charities maximize donation effectiveness and might be a good place to start looking.



It's a good place to start.

Not that it's not a noble objective. But the accountability stuff costs money which could otherwise be spent on the core purpose.

This. I run a small non-profit. We would love to be hyper-transparent, but there are three of us working full time just to do the work that donors are supporting. We'd need to spend a lot of time and effort to release and contextualize all of that information, make sure it's current, and respond to the inevitable feedback and conversation that would be generated from releasing that information. Everything that sounds like it would be quick and easy, well, isn't.

If your non-profit needs any help with any of the software side (that can be made open source) let me know and I'd be happy to see how I can help.

If it is a US based charity or foundation you can look at their IRS Form 990 to see sources and uses of funds. http://990finder.foundationcenter.org/

That'd be silly to tie such an obligation to support one of the purported most valued parts of blockchain..

You need to Support CopperheadOS. It's something really important for freedom and safety

This seems so fake. If its too good to be true...

Watsi cofounder here. I can confirm this is true. We're very grateful for the support, it's going to help a lot of people.

Ok. Please tell the world how you scam people with fees and eat up charity donation being a middleman.

This is a sad sentiment, IMO.

A friend of mine who works in philanthropy educated me against my misconception that charities that spend a higher portion of their funds on non program fees (i.e. middleman type expenses, and not direct to the person who receives the benefits) are actually often more effective, rather than less.

I'm not an expert here, but this friend of mine is particularly thoughtful, so I'd say it's worth at least evaluating your position before you critique people like this.

Watsi only funds its operations via tips. 100% of your non-tip donations go to funding treatments.

It's not liquid capital, it's not cash. It potentially has no value, yet giving it away will likely help with the donors' tax situation. Likewise, by giving more people Bitcoin et al, it creates more people with vested interest and who will likely speak positively about Bitcoin et al - which is all to help perpetuate the openly talked about, decentralized and global Ponzi schemes that are taking place.

Pretty misinformed and seemingly bitter, especially for a self proclaimed yogi.

It is liquid capital - and its value is $86mm since you could liquidate this at any moment without moving the order book.

Is that an attempt at a personal attack? Looks like it. Looks like you're being defensive as well, curious if you bought any crypto-assets?

I remember from last time someone tried to dump a bunch onto the market the price crashed - by definition then - is that more liquid or more illiquid? Liquidity is obviously on a spectrum and these crypto-assets very quickly become illiquid depending on how many people are wanting to sell; searching for the example it seems the specific event I was thinking about was regarding Ethereum's Ether - https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/22/ethereum-price-crash-10-cent...

Here's another brief article that showed in the search listings re: market manipulation - https://steemkr.com/bitcoin/@crypto-pro/how-to-make-altcoins...

The point being that it's perhaps only liquid until too many people at once want to remove their money. People of course didn't and don't try to dump it (currently) because they're not going to want to sell for 1/300th (example) of what it was the day before, so everyone just waits until it rebounds. This is why these global decentralized Ponzi Schemes are dangerous for society because they can survive because there's such a supply of potential people using relatively small amounts of money, these growing number of people putting relatively small amounts of money increases the number of people incentivized to wanting it to grow in value - so they all speak positively and market it to their friends to buy, etc. All of the current holders need new money/people to come in for them to realize "profit" (unreasonable wealth transfer) by acknowledging/validating/legitimizing the 'current' value of the crypto-asset of their choice.

And a NULL transaction to/from that address encoded the string "pineapplefund.org"


That transaction cost 20€. Ouch.

Spare change if you've got $100 million to throw around. Or whatever the current btc price is.

Wow is this for real?

Does anyone know people who are absurdly wealthy in BTC but only average (i.e software eng)?

What's their game plan ?

A couple of the folks I know are just HODLing until BTC hits $150,000. Most of them bought Bitcoin when it was a couple of $, haven’t bought Bitcoin since and are just waiting it out to see what happens.

Why $150,000 exactly? Because of what the market cap will be then?

Yeah, more or less. Basically if Bitcoin is ever going to get to the same market cap of the stock market or the gold market, it's going to have to get up to a certain price, and there are quite a few people that are fairly confident it will get there. It's gone up well over 10x just this year alone, it's not too crazy to believe that it could go up another 10x in the next 1-5 years (I would have said 5-10 years six months ago).

Good question! I don’t think it’s a scientific number, but rather based on the current price (approx. $15,000 at the time of writing) to represent a 10x increase in Bitcoin’s valuation.

There's no risk to not selling - so it's more the question of why not hold? The reason why to hold is because these crypto-assets are fragile and they know if too many people try to liquidate before more people jump onto this global Ponzi scheme then the price will crash. But they know it's a matter of time before people who already made tons of money will start to slowly re-inject money, buying to move the price up again - each new buyer supporting each other - until a flood of the general public (or new big time investors) pump money into the ecosystem.

It'd be nice if some of the money were used to make it easier for charities to convert to cash as quickly as possible. Bitcoin pointlessly consumes so much dirty energy, I imagine many environmental charities see bitcoin akin to blood money.


While some coal in landlocked and inaccessible locations is fired up in an environmentally unfriendly process to mine Bitcoins, most miners are powered by hydrogen dams, geysers and other geothermal energy sources that cannot be transported or stored.

I think you mean hydroelectric dams.

This meme needs to die. Keeping the lights on tens of thousands of banks and keeping hundred of thousands of servers running transaction processing cost a lot of electricity too. Efforts are underway to get rid of dirty energy because the costs of renewable and battery storage are so much cheaper that this is a non-issue.

Give me a fucking break. The "traditional financial world" processes tens if not hundreds of thousands of transactions per second worldwide. Bitcoin processes no more than 4 per second. On a per-transaction basis, you could be insane to argue that Bitcoin is anything other than an environmental disaster.

Worse, Bitcoin's energy consumption scales based on the price of bitcoin, not on transaction volume. The more USD each bitcoin is worth, the more miners will spend on energy to get that sweet, sweet block reward.

So it isn't a "meme" and Bitcoin's proponents would do well to concede that "yeah, bitcoin pisses away a lot of electricity--sorry about that...".

> Worse, Bitcoin's energy consumption scales based on the price of bitcoin, not on transaction volume. The more USD each bitcoin is worth, the more miners will spend on energy to get that sweet, sweet block reward.

Until Bitcoin is done bootstrapping and the block reward is zero.

This is just your bias disguised as virtue. Bitcoin is a blip compared to everything that “wastes” energy.

By the way there is no such thing as a waste of energy. This isn’t soviet Russia, neither you nor the government dictate how one is allowed to use energy. As long as you have the funds to pay for it, you are free to use the electricity how you see fit.

If you’re reasonably concerned about the environmental concerns of how energy is produced, take it up with the producers. Stop technology-shaming.

Supply and demand. If you want mining to reduce emissions, increase the cost of energy. Bitcoin will remain unaffected. Don't blame bitcoin because of the cost of energy. Blame the energy producers for selling it to miners at that price.

Why not blame both?

Because one is to blame and the other is not.

That's tautological. Implicit in the question is a request for an explanation of why both are not to blame. If you don't believe Bitcoin has an enabling or encouraging effect on activity that is bad for the environment, why is that? Why is it more appropriate to shift blame entirely on the energy provider instead of the very energy inefficient process?

Do you also suppose that we should reduce vehicle emissions by increasing the cost of gasoline? Why isn't it fair to blame vehicles that run on gasoline and vehicles which are particularly inefficient at running on gasoline?

> That's tautological.

No it's not. I'm saying you can fix the problem by modifying one constraint. Fix the cost of energy, and you fix your problem with energy wastage. It will make absolutely zero difference to bitcoin what the price of energy is. If energy is more expensive, mining will reduce, and bitcoin difficulty resets to the lower mining hashrate.

> Do you also suppose that we should reduce vehicle emissions by increasing the cost of gasoline?

Of course. It's ludicrous to think otherwise.

What a cop out. So we have to increase energy prices so a bunch of greedy scammers can waste energy speculating on hot air?

Again. Give me a break...

Bitcoin is modern gold. You can travel across borders with literally millions in your pocket without having to trust anyone. If you can’t see the value of that then you are being willfully ignorant.

You can do with your money what you like. There's a word for that : freedom.

Of course you can, but that doesn't make it not environmentally unfriendly.

Efforts are underway to get rid of dirty energy because the costs of renewable and battery storage are so much cheaper that this is a non-issue.

Um what? Certainly we have made great progress as a civilization switching to cleaner forms of energy production but calling greenhouse pollution a "non issue" at this point is pretty nuts!

Install clean energy sources then. Charge for it, I don't care. Don't blame bitcoin because of cheap energy.

This meme needs to die. You think if bitcoin became a transaction standard there wouldn't be thousands of institutions and companies servicing the use of bitcoin? You don't think Coinbase won't become just like JPMorgan and employ 100k people to provide customer service? Just look at all the startups and people currently employed to figure out blockchain today. So take your assumption of all of modern-day finances's electricity demands and add that to the infinite loop of energy that is required to keep your bitcoins in existence whether you transact or not.

And all the armored trucks, the parking meters, the security staff and equipment, the phone calls, the faxes, the mailed documents...

I believe the Gates Foundation has already put an enormous amount of thinking and research into determining the most effective use of a large amount of funds to improve the overall state of the world. My opinion is that you would probably rationally be better off investing that money or building a corporation to try and turn it into billions and then donate that to Gates.

The donation to Watsi will provide life-changing surgeries in the near future, and will potentially save hundreds or thousands of lives. You might be able to do more good in the future with a larger sum of money, but if you made this choice, you are condemning the smaller group of people to suffering and death. If you met with the smaller group of people and learned all of their names and faces, you probably wouldn't want to let them die. If you could somehow travel to the future and meet with the larger group of people, you might decide to sacrifice the smaller group in order to save millions of lives instead of hundreds. You could also try to find a balance between the two extremes. I guess this is a variation of the Trolley problem [1].

However, there's a few additional variables that are very important.

1. The price of Bitcoin may fall dramatically, or your business and investments might fail. Now you can't help anyone.

2. By saving the smaller group of people, you will alter the course of history. Some of the people in the larger group might never experience the disease or accident that required medical intervention. Some of them will never even be born.

I think it's better to choose the predictable outcome that is guaranteed to ease suffering, instead of gambling with people's lives.

P.S. I just finished watching the first episode of 11.22.63 [2] a few minutes ago. (It was incredibly good!)

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolley_problem

[2] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2879552/

This looks sketchy as hell. No personal information attached at all and the domain has who-is protection. How do we know this is legit?

(Edit: nvm, misinterpreted the website)

It does irrefutably link a very large amount of bitcoins with the site.


He also links to a couple of completed donations. The first is a transfer of of 64.77BTC (approx $1M) to address 1AttfyuVVVpsJ6FzBcJMqkFrPRzFiQoRb6 which is definitely Watsi's BTC address:


I'm having a bit of trouble connecting this transfer back to address 3P3QsMVK89JBNqZQv5zMAKG8FK3kJM4rjt which currently holds the coins that he says will be donated. If true this should be possible though...

EDIT: Oh wait, here is the connection:


I have to say, I'm generally pretty skeptical of stuff like this but there is evidence here that this is legit.

EDIT2: They also encoded "pineapplefund.org" in a NULL transaction. Even more reason to believe.


AFAICT he's only giving money away, not asking any. What's sketchy about anonymous donations?

I was confused by the

"4,894 BTC ~$84 million USD remaining"

on the site. It initially appeared as if he/she was asking for donations. I guess that's actually the amount of money yet to be distributed.

I think a clearer—or at least a less click-baity—title would be something like:

Pineapple Fund: Donating $86 million USD in/through BTC to charity.

I think the current one makes it sound like they are donating 86M BTC. I know that's above the theoretical maximum, but that's not the point.

It clearly has $ in the HN post, and the actual site.

And you even know thats above the maximum so your concerns should have been disregarded as erroneous stimuli as the rest of our brains are already programmed to do.

He just wanted to show off that he knew the "theoretical maximum" amount of Bitcoins.

Enough of the ad homenium

I'd love to know what the Electronic Frontier Foundation does exactly with millions and millions of dollars in donations. Based on Wikipedia it awards money to rich people with powerful computers for finding new prime numbers. But it seems to me the other charities are much more deserving.

There are three general buckets of work that EFF does. All three are focussed on protecting user's online rights to free speech, security, and privacy - but each achieves that result in a different way:

* Legal: Taking on precedent-setting cases (e.g. establishing code as a form of speech, overturning Betamax Doctrine, challenging censorship laws). Full list is here: https://www.eff.org/victories

* Technology: Helping launch projects like LetsEncrypt (now its own org), Privacy Badger, Certbot, Panopticlick, Democracy.io, HTTPS Everywhere.

* Advocacy/activism: Pushing state & federal legislatures in the US and around the world to pass laws that protect user's rights, and not to pass laws that would harm them. Also to push regulatory bodies (e.g. FCC) similarly.

(I'm a Tech Fellow at EFF but not speaking for the org in any capacity)

(Full disclosure: I'm EFF's International Director)

Probably the two fastest ways to find out what we do (and how we're funded) is to:

* Read our annual report: https://www.eff.org/files/annual-report/2016/index.html (our reporting year is from June-July, so this is up to this summer).

* Read some of the stories from Hacker News -- our work is often covered here, because the topics we defend with our lawyers, activists and technologists are often close to people here. So, for instance, working to stop controls on crypto, the fight for net neutrality, defending people who are creating or innovating new tech, stopping the worst effects of DRM, tracking the consequences of AI, challenging mass surveillance in the courts, founding and supporting Let's Encrypt, etc. https://hn.algolia.com/?query=eff.org&sort=byDate&prefix&pag...

We've been around for over 27 years now, so some of the stuff you might discover online about us might not look so relevant now, but helped set the groundwork for the modern Net. So, it's now (almost exactly!) 20 years since the Internet censorship provisions of the Communications Decency Act was declared unconstitutional, but you still sometimes find GIFs of the Blue Ribbon Campaign EFF worked on to raise awareness of that issue on the early Internet. And the project you mentioned -- the Cooperative Computing Award -- is one of these earlier initiatives. It was fully funded in 1999 by a generous single benefactor, in order to encourage distributed computing in a period where it was felt that the incentives were more strongly aligned to centralise processing power. We've given out two of these prizes over the last 18 years, with two more to go. Of course, distributed computing -- including platforms like Ethereum and concepts like blockchain validation -- is more established now than it was in 1999.

Our budget for all of our work is in the order of $10 million, a large proportion of which comes from individual members' donations. To give hopefully relevant comparisons, the MPAA took $76 million in 2015; the 2016 budget for the ACLU was $138 million. We try to remain agile with what we have, but where new technology and civil liberties meet, there's always new things to do.

It's not some big secret. They're a major advocacy organization.


They're like the ACLU for technology topics

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