Bitcoin Foundation

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Bitcoin Foundation
Founded 2012
Headquarters San Francisco
Key People Llew Claasen, executive director; Brock Pierce, chairman; Bobby Lee, vice chairman; Gavin Andresen, board member (former); Bruce Fenton, board member; Michael Perklin, board member; Vinny Lingham, board member
Products Trade association for bitcoin
Twitter @BTCFoundation
LinkedIn Profile
Facebook Page
Website Bitcoin Foundation Official
Releases Company News
Blog The Bitcoin Roundup

The Bitcoin Foundation was established in 2012, specifying the members' financial obligations denominated in bitcoin. The initial board of directors consisted of Gavin Andresen, Mark Karpeles, Jon Matonis, Patrick Murck, Charlie Shrem, and Peter Vessenes.[1]

According to the foundation's manifesto, published in 2016, the foundation works to organize and coordinate the online bitcoin community's efforts to "create awareness of the benefits of Bitcoin, how to use it and its related technology requirements, for technologists, regulators, the media and everyone else globally." The manifesto also says that members believe fiat currency to be a poor long-term store of value, especially since the gold standard was abolished, and that the existing global economic system is inefficient, non-inclusive, dysfunctional, and encourages consumption and non-sustainable spending rather than saving. Because of this, the manifesto says, the foundation's members believe that bitcoin will become the primary internationally-recognized means of storing and exchange value independent of third parties.[2]

Mark Karpeles, former CEO of defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, was originally a member of the organization. He submitted his resignation in 2014 when Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy amid hacking attacks.[3] Charlie Shrem, former CEO of bitcoin exchange BitInstant and the former vice chairman of the foundation, also resigned after he was charged with money laundering in 2014.[4]

In January 2015, Executive Director Jon Matonis and Chief Scientist Gavin Andresen's announced exodus from the organization triggered an election for the foundation's board of directors. Cody Wilson - an anarchist activist known for funding an organization that creates and distributes plans for 3D-printed firearms - nominated himself and announced his plans to run for a seat. Wilson's platform promised to disband the organization from within if elected, citing its so-called collusion "against the public" by attempting outreach with the U.S. Federal government. Though Wilson, a noted critic of regulation, claimed that the organization's very structure was a "critical kind of betrayal" against bitcoin's core ethos, some argued that the organization's engagement with the government in the wake of events like Silk Road's dissolution and Mt. Gox's bankruptcy helped build goodwill with that may have prevented harsher regulation and enforcement actions aginst the cryptocurrency space.[5]

During the election, the foundation initially offered foundation members to cast votes directly on bitcoin's blockchain, but concerns about the potential setbacks of blockchain voting from within its community later caused the foundation to suspend voting by this method.[6]

In April 2015, Bruce Fenton was named executive director by a 5-to-1 vote, serving in the formerly paid position as a volunteer. Fenton said in an interview that the foundation would continue to work on public outreach and education, as well as helping facilitate the development of bitcoin's core protocol, as well as keeping the foundation "in the black" due to financial issues related to bitcoin's market price at the time.[7] Cryptocurrency entrepreneur Brock Pierce was elected chairman of the board that month as well by a 3-to-0 vote.[8]

In June 2016, the foundation elected Llew Claasen, a South African venture capitalist, as its new executive director.[9] In 2017, Claasen gave a talk at TEDGlobal in Tanzania urging investors to invest "no more than they can afford" in bitcoin, and to treat it as an alternative asset like gold rather than a form of cash.[10]

Products and Services[edit]

The Bitcoin Foundation is the cryptocurrency space's oldest trade organization. It provides cryptocurrency development, consumer advocacy, and public education services.[11]

Key People[edit]

  • Llew Claasen, Executive Director
  • Brock Pierce, Chairman
  • Bobby Lee, Vice Chairman
  • Gavin Andresen, Board Member (former)
  • Bruce Fenton, Board Member
  • Michael Perklin, Board Member
  • Vinny Lingham, Board Member