2015-04-03

The truth about the Bitcoin Foundation

The truth about the Bitcoin Foundation

NOTE TO THE PRESS: The Bitcoin Foundation does not represent Bitcoin in any way. It has historically hired some Bitcoin developers, lobbyists and organized a conference.

Dear Members,

I was elected on a platform of transparency and decentralization of core development. Since the beginning, the Foundation has been sorely lacking any transparency of its actions. I can no longer in good conscience hide the truth on what I have witnessed in the Bitcoin Foundation since I was elected last month.

First of all, the Bitcoin Foundation is effectively bankrupt. As a result of 2 years of ridiculous spending and poorly thought out decisions, they almost ran out of money in November of last year. In extremis, but way too late, they decided to select a new executive director during that time. That new director decided that the only way to still get funds at that point, was to focus solely on funding core development, in the hope that people would see that as a good cause. But people were smart enough not to trust the Foundation anymore. Despite it’s intentions, they failed to collect the necessary funds to support this idea. With the election in February-March, it became clear that people did not want the Foundation meddling with core development. The truth is that the Foundation’s plan was to hire even more core devs + to start a Bitcoin Standards Body. No organization should have this much control over Bitcoin, and a disaster was avoided.

When I joined on my first Board meeting, Jim Harper and myself immediately put forward a vote to have the board meeting recorded. We followed Robert’s rules of orders, and everyone else basically shut us down and failed to follow procedures. There were “more urgent” things to discuss (as you will see later, the urgent pattern was an excuse to just continue on their course and shut us up). It was critical for us to vote on a plan that would save the Foundation. When I mentioned that such a critical vote is all the more reason to make sure the whole meeting gets recorded, I was ignored. The Bitcoin Foundation hates transparency. If they would have been transparent then everyone would know there is no money left. Something I think the members have a right to know, wouldn’t you think? Members have a right to know that the current board failed to tell them the truth, and that their way of running the organization resulted in it going bankrupt. But instead of taking responsibility, they want to find the next executive director, that will come up with another magic plan. Ironically, being transparent from the start might have prevented this whole thing to begin with.

Everyone has the right to know the truth:

The Foundation has almost no money left, and just fired 90% of its people. Some will stay on as volunteers. Core dev can no longer be funded by it, and Patrick Murck is trying to re-create a new Foundation just for core dev, because the current name is tarnished. Do not fall for this. The current Executive Director (Patrick Murck), will be gone in 2 weeks, and they are trying to find the next person to blame everything on. Jim Harper was threatened for doing a press release which was (barely) critical of the Foundation after he got elected. The Foundation tries to make sure we hide the truth by subtly threatening us on a regular basis. If I get asked to leave the Foundation for telling the truth, so be it. The truth is being told.

Moving forward:

A special trust fund is being created and I will donate several 100k to pre-pay Gavin’s, Wladimirs and some other core devs wage for the next year (if they choose to accept). The control of this trust fund will be handed over to the core devs, who can decide who can join it. Alternatively, we can give voting power to everyone who puts money in it (pro-rata). I will also organize crowdfunds and help make this fund public. At no point do I want to have any control whatsoever.

It is up to the members of the Bitcoin Foundation to decide what they want to do now. The bylaws allow for a special board meeting to be called by 15% of members. I would recommend you to do so and ask for all information to be released so you can learn the truth. Additionally I would recommend for you to replace the whole board if you want this organization to last. Alternatively you can vote to shut it down and get your money back. There might not be enough money left in the Foundation to pay its members back, but I will personally try to help make up the difference, even though I have not been part of it.

The lesson for all of us in Bitcoin is to never put any trust in a centralized org again that wanted to represent Bitcoin or the Core Development of Bitcoin.

Note: I totally expect the current Board members to try to place blame on me for whatever reason. They are very bad at taking personal responsibility. I have had several threats, but I'm releasing this anyway.

Olivier

Link to Bitcoin forum post: https://bitcoinfoundation.org/forum/index.php?/topic/1284-the-truth-about-the-bitcoin-foundation/

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