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Author Topic: Bitcoin Foundation  (Read 15337 times)
Gavin Andresen
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October 25, 2011, 08:13:25 PM
 #1

Bitcoin is revolutionary because it is decentralized, with no single point of control or failure.

However, over the last six months or so it has become obvious to me that the rest of the world isn't set up to interact with a radically decentralized system like Bitcoin, and I think forming a not-for-profit organization will be a positive step towards Bitcoin's long-term success.

I'm posting this to see if there is a consensus on what a Bitcoin Foundation should be.

To get the conversation started, here are some functions I think a Bitcoin Foundation could perform:

  • Interact with the legal system, where a centralized entity is needed: for example, to hold the Bitcoin trademark, own/control the bitcoin.org domain name, etc.
  • Act as a central library for accurate information about Bitcoin, so journalists and policymakers have an 'official' place to learn about Bitcoin.
  • Collect donations to fund infrastructure necessary for Bitcoin's growth (organize regular developers' conferences or get-togethers maybe? pay for development of cross-implementation testing tools? pay core developers' salaries? create a certification/testing program for Bitcoin implementations? create a central clearinghouse for information about legal issues surrounding Bitcoin across the world?)

Other not-for-profit organizations that could be emulated:

  • The Anti-Phishing Working Group (the APWG's chairman, David Jevans http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Jevans, is willing to help make a Bitcoin Foundation happen).
  • The Tor Project
  • The Apache Software Foundation

Are there others that work well, or are there examples of what NOT to do? Assuming there is rough consensus that a Bitcoin Foundation is a good idea, I would like to get something imperfect up and running quickly, with the expectation that it will evolve over time.

How often do you get the chance to work on a potentially world-changing project?
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terrytibbs
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October 25, 2011, 08:16:25 PM
 #2

Totally, do it. Do it.
genjix
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October 25, 2011, 08:17:25 PM
 #3

I have a friend (Martin Dittus) who runs the non-profit London Hackspace who expressed an interest in doing this when we were tossing around the idea some months back. Would be worth getting him on board if so to do the adminstration/relevant registration.

Also another friend of mine, jaromil, works in the Dutch public sector and runs the non-profit dyne foundation and would definitely be up for helping.
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October 25, 2011, 08:19:24 PM
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I think it's a good idea and will definitely donate if it's set up.
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October 25, 2011, 08:22:37 PM
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Do you currently get copyright assignment on patches?  If not, that'd be another good use for the foundation.
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October 25, 2011, 08:25:04 PM
 #6

Definitely a good idea (and I would be interested in helping David get it going).

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October 25, 2011, 08:25:30 PM
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Great idea. We could call it Cryptofed or maybe Trilaterocoin.

I thought the whole idea was to evade the illuminati, not become one of them.


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Andrew Vorobyov
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October 25, 2011, 08:29:45 PM
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In

wareen
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October 25, 2011, 08:29:57 PM
 #9

That's a great idea and exactly what's needed (especially the interaction with the legal system)!

If you keep it open, transparent and not-for-profit then I doubt there will be much opposition.
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October 25, 2011, 08:30:44 PM
 #10

This would be great for Bitcoin, even necessary I'd say. Do it Gavin, we'll figure out along the way exactly what the foundation should and should not do.

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October 25, 2011, 08:33:29 PM
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Great idea. We could call it Cryptofed or maybe Trilaterocoin.

I thought the whole idea was to evade the illuminati, not become one of them.


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October 25, 2011, 08:38:29 PM
 #12

Totally, do it. Do it.
+1 , bitcoin badly need it !

also a good place to have all the active and motivated people talk, exchange and work together; more cooperation and less internal wars for bitcoin !

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October 25, 2011, 08:42:52 PM
 #13

I've been involved with not for profits for the last 30 years and my first piece of advice is to keep it simple.  While there are lots of functions such a foundation could perform, both human and financial resources will be limited so you need to establish a clear vision of what you want the organisation to do and prioritise the order in which you take on various roles.  Trying to do everything at once and to be all things to all people will result in a total clusterfuck.

NFPs typically require some kind of governing body such as a board elected by the membership - the exact requirements will vary depending on where it's legally incorporated.  They're also generally required to have their accounts audited.

You will need to seek legal advice on whether the foundation would have any legal standing to seek trademark control without the express permission of Satoshi.  In countries which aren't "first to file", it may be difficult to obtain various types of IP protection both because Bitcoin is already in the public domain and also because those seeking IP protection would need to establish their "right" to the trademark.


All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
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October 25, 2011, 08:45:04 PM
 #14

 here are some functions I think a Bitcoin Foundation could perform:

  • Interact with the legal system, where a centralized entity is needed: for example, to hold the Bitcoin trademark, own/control the bitcoin.org domain name, etc.
  • Act as a central library for accurate information about Bitcoin, so journalists and policymakers have an 'official' place to learn about Bitcoin.
  • Collect donations to fund infrastructure necessary for Bitcoin's growth (organize regular developers' conferences or get-togethers maybe? pay for development of cross-implementation testing tools? pay core developers' salaries? create a certification/testing program for Bitcoin implementations? create a central clearinghouse for information about legal issues surrounding Bitcoin across the world?)

[/quote]

I will donate towards these ends.
worldly
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October 25, 2011, 08:46:33 PM
 #15

It's an excellent idea.

Here is a few ideas to compliment;

Marketing or image management might be something the foundation looks after too.
Possibly a logo "official bitcoin network member" or something of that nature,  to use this logo might cost xBTC/year and need to have the confidence of the circle of people running the show to use the logo on your site.
If the foundation can create value for commercial developers it may be able to make money to run itself properly, funds are going to be a challenge.

other thoughts
Would it be registered somewhere, if so where would that be?
I guess there would need to be a constitution of some kind, how would people be appointed to run this foundation?
Looking through the forum recently a vote might not be the best idea.

I would suggest a trusted influential member of the community, ie Gavin would have to take expressions of interest and appoint some people to start brainstorming.

European Bitcoin Conference Prague 2011
jimbobway
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October 25, 2011, 08:47:15 PM
 #16

Maybe a part of the Bitcoin Foundation should somewhat resemble the EFF.  (Electronic Frontier Foundation.)  We need some lawyers willing to protect bitcoin in every country.

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evoorhees
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October 25, 2011, 08:48:28 PM
 #17

Gavin - seems like a reasonable idea.

Bitcoin would still have all the advantages of being decentralized (no central server, no office to raid and shut down. etc), but gets the added advantages of a core organization to guide it. Perhaps the core organization will get destroyed by the evil powers, but I'm not sure that'd be incredibly damaging to Bitcoin as a protocol. The community would just grow a new command center when the old was destroyed.

The main danger is if the community trusts such an organization too much.  For example- if everyone assumed the client version put out by the organization was trustworthy, then there is serious danger. A group as you propose should probably exist, but the community should remain skeptical of it, and always constructively critical.
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October 25, 2011, 08:54:38 PM
 #18

Mt Gox should back it or somehow be heavily involved.  If anything just to piss people off.  But it would be weird if Tux was not part of it somehow.

I like this idea and the projects you compare to how it would run.

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October 25, 2011, 08:57:36 PM
 #19

After a few mins of more thinking...

Perhaps the idea of an "official" group is not wise.  Instead, the core dev team could create an organization, with special logo and name. This organization would be the de facto official group, but only so long as it held up its reputation. At all times, other groups can form and compete for "de facto officialness."

In essence then, this would just be a Non-profit, spontaneously organized by individuals. If multiple such organizations sprout up, then each community member can support whomever they wish.

Think of it like a market for competing representatives. No group official by law, but any group official by market sentiment. We would see one group come to dominate the sentiment, but Bitcoin would not be irrevocably tied to it.

No group should be granted an explicit monopoly... but an implicit market-derived monopoly would not bother me.
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October 25, 2011, 08:59:49 PM
 #20

I like it.  I may only be able to help with a few BTC but who knows.

I'm going to follow this with interest.

How about a mailing list to start to keep us all up to date?

If you like this post a donation would be nice....  1PhCzA9o1jcwHr7PR4mxea8nJYUJWpKAGb

Besides, It'll drive me crazy trying to figure where it came from.
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