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Notre-Dame Cathedral restoration could accept bitcoin donations

Oscar Williams-Grut
Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Notre-Dame Cathedral seen at sunrise following a major fire on Monday on April 17, 2019 in Paris, France. Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

France’s digital minister said that the government would consider backing bitcoin donations to the restoration of the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

“I’m not sure every bitcoin player can do it but, anyway, we are open to the discussion,” Cedric O, France’s Minister for the Digital Economy, told a press conference on Wednesday. “People should be able to make donations through whatever means they want to use.”

Paris’ historic Notre-Dame Cathedral was devastated by a huge fire on Monday evening, the cause of which is still unknown.

Gregory Raymond, a journalist with France’s Capital magazine and a crypto advocate, set up a bitcoin fund on Tuesday to try and raise funds to help with the restoration.

O was asked on Wednesday whether the government would bless these efforts and allow the bitcoin fund to donate to four official restoration organisations that have been chosen by the state.

“I’ve been meeting with the platforms yesterday,” O said. “As far as you’re able to ensure first that you don’t take any money that is transferred to the foundation, second that you collect the information that is needed for tax deduction, and third that you’re transferring the funds to the four foundations that have been chosen to rebuild Notre Dame, I think we can have a discussion in order to convey the message that people can make donations on your platform.”

As of Wednesday, almost $1bn has been pledged toward the restoration of the Notre Dame cathedral. The majority came from French billionaires, as well as other wealthy individuals such as Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Le Fondation du Patrimoine, an independent non-profit heritage group, said it is still too early to estimate the cost of the damage to the Paris’ landmark.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday pledged to rebuild a “more beautiful” Notre Dame within 5 years.

O’s comments about potential bitcoin donations came during a press conference on the sidelines of the Paris Blockchain Week summit, a two-day event showcasing France as a place to do business for blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses.

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