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Author Topic: Regarding the Bitcoin Foundation.......  (Read 6166 times)
Yankee (BitInstant)
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Charlie 'Van Bitcoin' Shrem


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September 29, 2012, 03:10:19 AM
 #1

(Oh no, not another thread!  Grin )

Hey All,

Most of you know me from my work in BitInstant, and some of the other projects I've worked and helped out on.

My life is an open book and my door is always open. Literally people walk into our office every day, just to talk about Bitcoin. I live, eat, breathe and sleep Bitcoin. You all know that already.

There are many discussions going on about the Bitcoin Foundation, which are awesome. There are also personal and mean attacks, which are not awesome.

Unlike some of my colleagues who say "It's just a bunch of trolls hating on the foundation" I actually read thru all 37 pages (so far) of the threads and attempted to respond to most if not all questions in a civilized and calm manner. If anyone has been insulted or offended by me, I am really sorry.

This is what I'm feeling so far:

There are alot of questions surrounding the foundation including fear of control. Obviously, we are a group that loves Bitcoin for the sole reason that it is ours. No government or corporation can take it from us. It's our baby, not theirs. We make the rules based on what we feel is the right choice for Bitcoin.

Many people are worried that the foundation will attempt to assert control...which is farther from the truth. In fact, the foundation has no real power over Bitcoin!

Why do we need a foundation you ask?

When I was presented with the idea for a foundation, I said "Wow, wouldn't it be great to have an organization of members that collectively can fund new projects, pay for ads, do QA for the code, be a 'go-to' place for the press, with the same message and beliefs."

Would it not be better if this organization is not owned by anyone? Where members can vote for their board members based on industry and representation?

......this is why I came on board.

Anyways, feel free to email me, call me, PM, post here, ect.. I will spend hours responding to each and every person with respect.

Furthermore, there will be many good ideas from members, I will do everything I am legally able to do to make those changes happen during my two year seat.

If you don't like me, my views, or that of the foundation I urge you to contend my board seat and run against me!

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September 29, 2012, 03:23:59 AM
 #2

F' the foundation join the country!

Bitrustica - The new virtual democratic country that governs bitcoin

Cheesy

Yankee (BitInstant)
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Charlie 'Van Bitcoin' Shrem


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September 29, 2012, 03:27:11 AM
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OH HELL YEH!!!!

Bitcoin pioneer. An apostle of Satoshi Nakamoto. A crusader for a new, better, tech-driven society. A dreamer.

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September 29, 2012, 07:33:07 AM
 #4

Charlie,

Thank you for accepting my suggestion about bylaws establishing how recommendations will be handled for any potential changes to Bitcoin privacy and censorship.

I'd encourage also discussion on the board about how they would respond to government pressure as I'm sure someday it will happen and being prepared legally will be beneficial. Perhaps an emergency plan needs to be in place in case one day your offices (or homes?) are served warrants and computers and other materials are confiscated.

Given the drama around the MegaUpload take down I don't see things like this as too far fetched nowadays, and the stakes here are clearly higher, if not today, then someday for sure. It seems like at least two board members strongly support and understand privacy and anonymity issues. I'm not sure the executive director does but hopefully that can be rectified.

I hope this foundation truly is able to help Bitcoin move forward and provide better information to the world about what Bitcoin really is, how it works and why they should use it.

I do have a question based on bits of info I've read here and there. It seems like there are 5 board members with two from industry class and two from individuals class and one from a founder's class.

I haven't seen an actual labeling of members but it seems like this is probably correct:

Gavin - Founder class
You, Charlie - Industry
Mark, MtGox - Industry
Jon Matonis - Individual
?? - Individual yet to be decided?

Is this last seat expected to be elected by members or chosen by other board members?

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September 29, 2012, 08:09:16 AM
 #5

don't give so much for these morons. they are just jealous having no social competence finding other people and build a group.

atlas and the other freaks are either trolling in bitcointalk or masturbating, not more. no wife, no kids, no real life. just lonely idiots in caves. they have a lot of time.

the Bitcoin Foundation rocks !

thanks a lot ! great idea !

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September 29, 2012, 08:26:55 AM
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the Bitcoin Foundation rocks !


Exactly.

People that dislike something are always the ones screaming the loudest.

I believe the bitcoin foundation has a huge silent majority in its back.

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September 29, 2012, 08:34:11 AM
Last edit: September 29, 2012, 09:24:56 AM by LightRider
 #7

Who decides if a board member candidate is "a member in good standing"?

What criteria would you use to determine if the foundation is doing something that it should not be doing?

Give examples of what you think the foundation would do that would cause you to resign and no longer promote it.

What happens when (not if, but when) the foundation's wallet gets hacked, either via internal or external malicious actors, and Gavin can't be paid to do the work for a period of time? What measures will the foundation and its members pursue in order to regain their wealth, and what privacy or fungibility will be sacrificed in order to reach that goal?

What special privileges will board members grant each other? Will Gavin get to trade with zero fees on MtGox or BitInstant, for example?

If you engage in political lobbying, what percentage of foundation funds will be made available to that endeavor, and to what parties or politicians do you expect these funds to go, and what would you be lobbying for?

Do you expect to be given approval rights for bitcoin advertisements, services, businesses or trademark use?

When will Gavin have to return to his home planet?

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September 29, 2012, 09:29:00 AM
 #8

Charlie: I have no doubt that you're a good guy and you mean well.

My top 3 concerns/solutions:

  • Lack of board representation for the privacy-focused sociopolitical viewpoint.  Currently, business interests far outweigh privacy interests on the Foundation's board.  Matonis is outnumbered.  The addition of a nonprofit political Bitcoin advocate like Falkvinge or Björnsdóttir would address this.
  • Lack of board representation for international viewpoints.  Currently the whole thing seems very USA-centric.  Same solution as above.
  • Danger in a financial dependency relationship between dev group and foundation.  A direct compensation arrangement leaves the dev group susceptible to future pressure and influence through the foundation.  It would be much better if the foundation created an independent salary/donation mechanism where the community was allowed to donate to the development budget first, and the foundation donated on top of that only in case of a shortfall.  Basically make the payment process as decentralized and autonomous as possible.

Anything you can do to address these would be appreciated.  Thank you for listening.
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September 29, 2012, 09:34:44 AM
 #9

Charlie: I have no doubt that you're a good guy and you mean well.

My top 3 concerns/solutions:

  • Lack of board representation for the privacy-focused sociopolitical viewpoint.  Currently, business interests far outweigh privacy interests on the Foundation's board.  Matonis is outnumbered.  The addition of a nonprofit political Bitcoin advocate like Falkvinge or Björnsdóttir would address this.
  • Lack of board representation for international viewpoints.  Currently the whole thing seems very USA-centric.  Same solution as above.
  • Danger in a financial dependency relationship between dev group and foundation.  A direct compensation arrangement leaves the dev group susceptible to future pressure and influence through the foundation.  It would be much better if the foundation created an independent salary/donation mechanism where the community was allowed to donate to the development budget first, and the foundation donated on top of that only in case of a shortfall.  Basically make the payment process as decentralized and autonomous as possible.

Anything you can do to address these would be appreciated.  Thank you for listening.



+1

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September 29, 2012, 09:35:56 AM
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Gavin - Founder class


No, he has only contributed to Bitcoind.

Satoshi Nakamoto was the sole founder of Bitcoin.
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September 29, 2012, 10:14:31 AM
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Charlie: I have no doubt that you're a good guy and you mean well.

My top 3 concerns/solutions:

  • Lack of board representation for the privacy-focused sociopolitical viewpoint.  Currently, business interests far outweigh privacy interests on the Foundation's board.  Matonis is outnumbered.  The addition of a nonprofit political Bitcoin advocate like Falkvinge or Björnsdóttir would address this.
  • Lack of board representation for international viewpoints.  Currently the whole thing seems very USA-centric.  Same solution as above.
  • Danger in a financial dependency relationship between dev group and foundation.  A direct compensation arrangement leaves the dev group susceptible to future pressure and influence through the foundation.  It would be much better if the foundation created an independent salary/donation mechanism where the community was allowed to donate to the development budget first, and the foundation donated on top of that only in case of a shortfall.  Basically make the payment process as decentralized and autonomous as possible.

Anything you can do to address these would be appreciated.  Thank you for listening.


+1

Peter Vessenes, the one holding the founders seat, also has a bitcoin company. futhermore, all three cooperate board members are pretty much in the same business. and as long as no other big contributors show up, mark basically pays gavin's salary.
i don't agree with the haters spamming the original thread, this won't be the end of bitcoin or anything.
but right now, the foundation feels much like a benevolent oligarchy. it's almost impossible to exert any influence from outside the board, which will stay the same for the next 20 months and doesn't represent anyone but themselves. it might very well be that gavin is right and you guys will get a lot done that way and it will be good for bitcoin. but i see very little incentive for anyone else to participate in something they can't control in any way.
those who trust in gavin will continue to do so and can now support him in a more organized way. those who don't won't be convinced by this very undemocratic construct.

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September 29, 2012, 10:45:33 AM
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There are alot of questions surrounding the foundation including fear of control. Obviously, we are a group that loves Bitcoin for the sole reason that it is ours. No government or corporation can take it from us. It's our baby, not theirs. We make the rules based on what we feel is the right choice for Bitcoin.

Many people are worried that the foundation will attempt to assert control...which is farther from the truth. In fact, the foundation has no real power over Bitcoin!

Why do we need a foundation you ask?

When I was presented with the idea for a foundation, I said "Wow, wouldn't it be great to have an organization of members that collectively can fund new projects, pay for ads, do QA for the code, be a 'go-to' place for the press, with the same message and beliefs."

Would it not be better if this organization is not owned by anyone? Where members can vote for their board members based on industry and representation?

......this is why I came on board.


Just compare the bold faced excerpts and think for yourself.

It is an outright lie claiming that TBF has no real power over Bicoin. It has the factual power to shape the future of Bitcoin.
The so called "democratic" structure is nothing else than lip service to foster acceptance by the mass. Yes, you can vote ...in two years ...if you join us (and pay).

No foundation is needed to achieve the goals stated above. Everyone can start funding for individual projects.


The belief that some bureaucratic meta body is needed to increase acceptance and stability of Bitcoin by adapting it to the existing rules of corporations and governments is ill-founded. The opposite is true: Bitcoin's inherent advantages - which are essentially non-conformist ones (decentrality, non-regulation) -  have led to its initial success and will continue to do so. Corporations and governments can (and will) gradually adapt to Bitcoin, not the other way around.

I'm sorry, but I have to repeat myself here: The Bitcoin Foundation is elitist BS.

The Bitcoin Foundation is just a security risk for the future development of Bitcoin that achieves nothing positive which could not be achieved by other means.
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September 29, 2012, 10:50:50 AM
 #13

I support the foundation and I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. I've joined the foundation and I plan on being involved with what it is doing. I'm in Europe (Finland) so I hope I can contribute on the European end.

Time will tell if the naysayers are right but for now I'd just say either support it or don't support it, I'm supporting it for a year to see how it goes. It's important to raise concerns though, so they can take them into account, but I feel it's ridiculous to say the foundation couldn't help Bitcoin.

Remember that Bitcoin's public image is still mostly DOWN THE DRAIN, if people know it at all. Many regular people think it's either a joke, monopoly money, a scam, only used for drugs, unsecure with constant hacks etc etc etc. This foundation IS NEEDED. Anyone who doesn't think so lives under a rock in some sort of personal cryptoanarchy-fantasyland.

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September 29, 2012, 11:05:42 AM
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Remember that Bitcoin's public image is still mostly DOWN THE DRAIN, if people know it at all. Many regular people think it's either a joke, monopoly money, a scam, only used for drugs, unsecure with constant hacks etc etc etc. This foundation IS NEEDED. Anyone who doesn't think so lives under a rock in some sort of personal cryptoanarchy-fantasyland.

Disagree. Bitcoin does not need an advertising corporation. Many new products/technologies face skepticism in their early days. Nonetheless, those products/technologies that prove advantageous will prevail in the end.
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September 29, 2012, 11:12:21 AM
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Look here I'm just a pleb but here are my thoughts for what they are worth. Not to say that the Foundation is good or bad for bitcoin but:

it was kind of sprung on the community in an "official" announcement. Everything was decided for us plebs on day one. Would it have been nicer if the announcement was made a few months earlier and then the community got to put forward candidates and we chose who to give the seats to. I think that a lot more peeps would be behind this thing that way.

One of the reasons that I found bitcoin so attractive was that it was a faceless entity. You can't fight what you don't see. Now we have half a dozen guys who will be prime targets for coercion or whatever from the powers that be. Not to say that the board seats aren't upright citizens of the bitcoin community or whatever but hey we's all human.

I understand that Gavin needs money to put food on the table and stuff, but hey open source is open source. I would much rather all the developers had day jobs and did bitcoin in their spare time for the love of bitcoin. Ok, development would be much slower pace, but I is ok with that. I'm sure that if we had a charity to help developers with financial expenses, I would be doing donations as I'm sure many peeps would.

Outside peeps are going to think of the Foundation as "Bitcoin Bank". Its perceptions isn't it? One of our strengths is that we are outside the banks. Anyways I'll stop talking now

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September 29, 2012, 11:35:21 AM
 #16

Charlie: I have no doubt that you're a good guy and you mean well.

My top 3 concerns/solutions:

  • Lack of board representation for the privacy-focused sociopolitical viewpoint.  Currently, business interests far outweigh privacy interests on the Foundation's board.  Matonis is outnumbered.  The addition of a nonprofit political Bitcoin advocate like Falkvinge or Björnsdóttir would address this.
  • Lack of board representation for international viewpoints.  Currently the whole thing seems very USA-centric.  Same solution as above.
  • Danger in a financial dependency relationship between dev group and foundation.  A direct compensation arrangement leaves the dev group susceptible to future pressure and influence through the foundation.  It would be much better if the foundation created an independent salary/donation mechanism where the community was allowed to donate to the development budget first, and the foundation donated on top of that only in case of a shortfall.  Basically make the payment process as decentralized and autonomous as possible.

Anything you can do to address these would be appreciated.  Thank you for listening.


Thank you for your confidence (and to the others as well). As one of the representatives of the Individual Membership Class, I take my board responsibilities very seriously. When Zimmermann resigned from Network Associates because they were trying to backdoor PGP, I took him in at Hushmail as Chief Cryptographer which is when OpenPGP was launched (2000-2002).

Regarding your 3rd concern above, how do you respond to the points that I make in this reply to theymos https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=113400.msg1227798#msg1227798 ?

I recognize the potential financial dependency issue, but how does your proposal mitigate clandestine, non-transparent compensation from malicious actors and how does it address succession planning for lead developers?

Founding Director, Bitcoin Foundation
I also cover the bitcoin economy for Forbes, American Banker, PaymentsSource, and CoinDesk.
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September 29, 2012, 01:37:48 PM
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I believe the bitcoin foundation has a huge silent majority in its back.


Most people want to be peaceful in groups, but in most of them there are a few troublemakers. Smiley

Some call the majority, "sheeple". They want to feel secure.


That will be the main job of the foundation, to put forth the dream of Satoshi and to
make users feel secure.
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September 29, 2012, 02:16:30 PM
 #18

Thanks for providing some sanity on these forums!

I'm absolutely in love with free speech and the ability for ideas to spread across the Internet.  For awhile now I've been thinking about some way to separate the "speakers" from the "ideas" in online discussions.  So many heated debates and arguments seem to be repetitive, involve numerous personal insults, and boil down to who can shout the loudest.  It seems like forums (or Facebook threads, comment streams, etc) tend to promote this type of argument.  I wonder if some sort of alternate online medium could be created, maybe with collective editing of a "core" argument, visual display of supporting arguments, and references to "trusted" facts.  It seems like there has to be a better way for people to learn from each other and generally work towards an understanding of the topics and factors at play...
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September 29, 2012, 02:37:37 PM
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This foundation IS NEEDED. Anyone who doesn't think so lives under a rock in some sort of personal cryptoanarchy-fantasyland.

I thought better of you. Why the need to resort to ad hominem attacks in order to manipulate others in falling under the same Stockholms sindrom spell as you have?

As for the rest of your post, all the negatives you listed I could go search your history of post for the last six months and find claims stating exactly the opposite outlook. Yes the foundation can do some good, but no, there are no facts that would support your assertion that it is needed and Bitcoin couldn't succeed without it.

My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right)

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September 29, 2012, 02:53:10 PM
 #20

Charlie: I have no doubt that you're a good guy and you mean well.

My top 3 concerns/solutions:

  • Lack of board representation for the privacy-focused sociopolitical viewpoint.  Currently, business interests far outweigh privacy interests on the Foundation's board.  Matonis is outnumbered.  The addition of a nonprofit political Bitcoin advocate like Falkvinge or Björnsdóttir would address this.
  • Lack of board representation for international viewpoints.  Currently the whole thing seems very USA-centric.  Same solution as above.
  • Danger in a financial dependency relationship between dev group and foundation.  A direct compensation arrangement leaves the dev group susceptible to future pressure and influence through the foundation.  It would be much better if the foundation created an independent salary/donation mechanism where the community was allowed to donate to the development budget first, and the foundation donated on top of that only in case of a shortfall.  Basically make the payment process as decentralized and autonomous as possible.

Anything you can do to address these would be appreciated.  Thank you for listening.


Thank you for your confidence (and to the others as well). As one of the representatives of the Individual Membership Class, I take my board responsibilities very seriously. When Zimmermann resigned from Network Associates because they were trying to backdoor PGP, I took him in at Hushmail as Chief Cryptographer which is when OpenPGP was launched (2000-2002).

Regarding your 3rd concern above, how do you respond to the points that I make in this reply to theymos https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=113400.msg1227798#msg1227798 ?

I recognize the potential financial dependency issue, but how does your proposal mitigate clandestine, non-transparent compensation from malicious actors and how does it address succession planning for lead developers?

Simple. A for profit organization such as what TBF would like to be, can hire Gavin and all the other devs as an independent contractors. Why is this important? Because then Gavin can't hide his actions behind anyone and carries the sole responsibility. His work would be looked at by everyone and it would keep him honest, even if he is paid by some malicious organization.

But what you have done now is provided a shield for his work. A shield he can hide behind. Should TBF ever get corrupted all it needs to do is issue as press release of a changed policy and Gavin simply writes the code. Anyone opposing the new code would now need to challenge the foundation instead of just Gavin which if the TBF is well founded is almost certainly going to result in a loss for the challenger.

You say that Gavin becoming the lead "just happened.) Although it has worked out well, no one can guarantee the longevity of Gavin in that role." but that isn't true. It didn't "just happen".. it happened because he did an awesome job, had he messed up he could have been simply replaced. How simple is it to replace him now?

Also you state there are no guarantees Gavin will keep doing good work but again you miss the self regulating aspect of a market. Gavin would have to keep doing good work and it's a guarantee he would have because if he ever stopped he would get replaced. Something you have now taken away from this community because the Bitcoin Foundation can defend him.


Up is down, left is right. That's all I hear. All check and balances that we needed, we had until 2 days ago.

Now what we have is you telling us there are checks an balances within this one organization, and all the other free market checks and balances that we had were effectively destroyed. It was no accident Bitcoin worked so well until now.

My personality type: INTJ - please forgive my weaknesses (Not naturally in tune with others feelings; may be insensitive at times, tend to respond to conflict with logic and reason, tend to believe I'm always right)

If however you enjoyed my post: 15j781DjuJeVsZgYbDVt2NZsGrWKRWFHpp
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