Human Rights Foundation launches fund to support development of Bitcoin privacy projects

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) has launched a fund to support software developers working on privacy-focused Bitcoin projects.

The New York-based nonprofit, which aims to promote and protect human rights globally, announced the initiative in a press release on Wednesday. The HRF said it is starting the fund in order to "better serve as a financial tool for human rights activists, civil society organizations and journalists around the world."

The foundation also awarded the new fund's first grant, to Chris Belcher, a UK-based developer working on CoinSwap, a tool that makes it harder to monitor Bitcoin transactions. A second grant will be given to another developer soon, according to the announcement.

HRF is also seeking more support via a crowdfunding campaign in which 95% of donations collected will be used to fund the work of selected developers. The remaining 5% will support HRF's efforts in general.

"Human rights defenders and reporters around the world face increasing financial repression in the form of frozen bank accounts, restrictions on foreign funding, payment surveillance, and general difficulty in earning income or receiving donations," Alex Gladstein, the organization's chief strategy officer, said in a statement. "Bitcoin can be a powerful tool for them to use moving forward alongside encrypted messaging apps like Signal and projects like Tor Browser and SecureDrop."