Bitcoin Foundation’s Comeback and the Annoyed Community


Bitcoin Foundation has been an easy target for criticism and comparisons to defunct red tape entities and failed states. Last year, it has gone through a series of ordeals, including exodus of several board members and realization that it will have run out of money by this March.

However, while many take potshots at the organization by calling it â€?inefficient’ and â€?bureaucratic’ to describe Bitcoin Foundation, no one can blame the organization for not being persistent. In an attempt to save the foundation from joining Titanic, its chairman Bruce Fenton, Bobby Lee, and Brock Pierce donated $10,000 each, with an addition of $65,000 from an unnamed mining company.

However, that seemed not enough to keep Bitcoin Foundation afloat. Bruce Fenton wrote a letter to some Bitcoin Core developers inviting them to get onboard of the revived organization. The letter leaked to Reddit a few days ago, and did not see any warm embrace there.

“The Foundation is here and here to stay — let’s have this organization be a resource that helps Core and Bitcoin as much as possible. We hope for Core Devs to consider the foundation an asset that belongs to you just as much as us or anyone else. We’ve fixed much of what needed fixing and would welcome your help to make this the most effective benefit to Bitcoin it can be,” Fenton wrote.

The letter has also elaborated the new goals for Bitcoin Foundation:

“1. Developing Development: increasing the number of developers and the training and knowledge available to them – the flagship of this area is our DevCore event series, next slated for Toronto – past speakers include Greg Maxwell, Charlie Lee, Jeff Garzik, Matt Corallo, Andreas Antonopoulos, Jeremy Allaire and many others.
2. Education and adoption: our Education Committee focuses on providing knowledge, white papers, and data to individuals and organizations with a goal of explaining the technology and increasing usage.
3. Promoting technical solutions to industry and regulatory challenges: the Bitcoin Foundation does not focus on lobbying and, as an internationally focused organization, we do not actively work on legislation issues. We do however believe that there is benefit in education of international regulators and officials, particularly with a focus on solutions of a technical nature.”

A great example of eloquence as it may seem, the letter garnered multiple comments on Reddit, with the best-rated of them, written by user Tomhinueber, expressing the general idea of their reaction:

“Let it die, Bruce. It’s bad for bitcoin.”

The reaction of the letter’s addressees wasn’t very enthusiastic either. For instance, prominent Bitcoin Core contributor Peter Todd told CoinDesk in an interview:

“I think they wanted to state what they’re aims were. Unfortunately, I don’t think they can represent Bitcoin Core anymore. It hasn’t been an organization that people have wanted to be associated with and I personally would like to distance myself from it.”

Bitcoin Foundation was originally set to solve the problems of the community, act as its voice when interacting with regulators and other traditional economy entities, and promote bitcoin by all possible and legally allowed means.

However, in a short while it turned out that the Foundation’s work was inefficient, and all those functions are successfully executed by other companies, which, contrary to Bitcoin Foundation, earn money while fulfilling them instead of asking for it all the time.

It all resulted in fast loss of credibility. When the foundation called for donations, the community wasn’t willing to participate, as the organization had a well-established image of a highly inefficient red-tape entity incapable of reaching any goals it had been set to.

While the Foundation’s cause may seem noble, the inefficiency is still an issue. Bruce Fenton acknowledged the organization’s problems in the letter, however, also distanced himself and other current board members from being responsible for them.

“The foundation, like Bitcoin itself, had its four share of ups and downs early on. While the group did some good things: funding of three developers, the bitnodes project, some solid events and a response to Bitlicense, there were some stumbles as well. In general, the decisions most consider to be mistakes at the foundation were the result of management that is long gone. The current team, the board and I, volunteered our time to make the foundation the best asset it can be,” he wrote.

Bitcoin Foundation is going to reboot in order to survive. However, some point out that being bureaucratic to the bone, it does the only thing that all other bureaucratic and actually unnecessary entities do — making their continued existence a top priority.

The organizational issue has also been a problem for the Foundation. One of the most notorious problems there is the way its board is formed, and the voting process. This problem caused Jim Harper and Olivier Janssens to resign last year.

So, all in all, the only way Bitcoin Foundation may possibly survive is to cease being Bitcoin Foundation.

Jenny Aysgarth


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