“Fr33 Aid” is a group of volunteers who organize free first aid and health services and who educate people about first aid skills (like CPR) and about the value of voluntary mutual aid at libertarian/anarchist-leaning events.

According to a press release on their site, dated , they have given up on their frustrating quest to gain government-certified non-profit status. Instead they are going to try to withdraw from the state-monitored banking system and the use of state-controlled currency and instead do as much of their operations as possible with the newly-developed currency known as “bitcoin.”

“When we founded Fr33 Aid in , the banks all required a taxpayer ID number and government paperwork,” said Teresa Warmke, Fr33 Aid’s co-founder and treasurer. “Bitcoin changed everything. We can focus on our mission now that Fr33 Aid’s assets are safe in our Bitcoin wallet.”

In a follow-up Q&A, Warmke explained: “Now that there are ways for us to do banking without government involvement, we decided fulfilling [IRS requirements] would not be a responsible way for Fr33 Aid to spend its money nor for our volunteers to spend their time.”

The organization will continue to accept donations denominated in dollars from people who have not adopted bitcoins, but will convert such donations to bitcoins “in a timely manner.” This way, Warmke says, “If at some point either the bank or a government tries to confiscate our account for taxes they believe we owe or failure to file paperwork, they would only be able to find a few dollars for their trouble.”

Bitcoins are very interesting. They are a form of currency that is backed by the full faith & credit of its community of users and the sophisticated and clever algorithm they agree to use and that gives the currency value as a medium of exchange. It is composed of numbers, minted by mathematics, often never takes material form, is recognized by no government, and backed by no material goods… and yet it seems strikingly more secure and useful and dependable than the currencies we have grown used to (for which, on close inspection, many of these same frightening conclusions hold true).

I’ve been hearing about them for months, but only recently have I investigated them in earnest. I don’t feel economically or mathematically sophisticated enough to give them a full-throated endorsement, but I’ve learned enough to know that most of my initial skepticism about bitcoin was superficial and invalid. This may very well be the real thing: a currency that is not controlled by a central authority, but by the community of people who use it; and one that is relatively easy for people to safeguard from government attempts at confiscation or restriction of trade across national boundaries.

(This would be an example of the tax resistance tactic of abandoning government currency or of switching to alternative currencies, which I covered on earlier Picket Line posts, and is related to the tactics hide taxable or seizable assets, join cooperative business arrangements, manufacture & sell alternatives to taxed goods, and participate in barter and other off-the-books transactions.)

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