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slush
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October 25, 2011, 09:01:13 PM
 #21

I agree that it's good idea, but this foundation should do only necessary stuff like "Interact with the legal system".

my first piece of advice is to keep it simple. ... Trying to do everything at once and to be all things to all people will result in a total clusterfuck.

^ Exactly

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October 25, 2011, 09:01:31 PM
 #22

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

As one of the resident anarchists, as long as the creation of a foundation does not change this feature of Bitcoin, I support its creation.

For example, I don't think the foundation should have direct control over the direction of Bitcoin client and network development, but it should coordinate with the various groups (exchanges, merchants, miners, etc) to ensure that any changes are not going to have negative impacts on existing infrastructure, or to ensure that time critical changes are implemented in a safe and effective manner.
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October 25, 2011, 09:03:56 PM
 #23

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.

+1

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Steve
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October 25, 2011, 09:05:10 PM
 #24

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.
Perhaps it should be called "The Unofficial Bitcoin Foundation" Wink

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repentance
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October 25, 2011, 09:06:43 PM
 #25



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.

This is the case whether or not the devs who work on the official client do so under the auspices of a legal entity, though.  

Your comment raises another issue - legal entities have legal liability.  It's much easier to sue an organisation which has taken "ownership" of the official client and is formally responsible for distributing a product or service.


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slush
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October 25, 2011, 09:09:51 PM
 #26

Possibly a logo "official bitcoin network member" or something of that nature

I feel that it's really bad idea, giving too much power to few people (in this case decision who's "official member" and who not), which is against Bitcoin ideology as I understand it. Let's make foundation only as a small entity interfacing current centralized legal systems, but nothing more.

Actually I have one experience with such 'foundation'. Originally there are usually clear intentions, but this kind of organizations is attracting people who wants power. Although I trust Gavin and few other core developers, I don't want to see any central entity with more power than is absolutely necessary.

slush
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October 25, 2011, 09:14:05 PM
 #27

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."

Very good idea, I'll support it.

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October 25, 2011, 09:20:42 PM
 #28

Great idea I'm in!  Grin

I would like to add there is a website called
http://www.unofficialbtc.com/    maybe they would like to be the "hub" for this just a thought.
repentance
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October 25, 2011, 09:31:45 PM
 #29

When would you be looking at the foundation starting to pay salaries to the devs Gavin?  That's something I'd view as happening well into the future, but I understand the idea that the shepherds of the official client should be paid for the time and effort they put into the protocol.  I think implementing that could be a bit contentious though as decisions would need to be made about how many devs get paid, which specific devs get paid, and what they're expected to deliver in return for their salaries.

One thing which I think is extremely important is that the devs have no role in running the foundation if they're being paid a salary.

That's an issue which non-profits in general have to face as they still rely to a large extent on volunteers to do most of their work.




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October 25, 2011, 09:36:20 PM
 #30

if an organization like this pays the developers what kind of trouble could we get into?
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October 25, 2011, 09:52:36 PM
 #31

I think this is an excellent idea, in fact I've long thought this would inevitably happen. I don't think the organization should be for promotion of bitcoin or similar, but simply for legal interaction, holding the trademark, and reliable info.

Different people have different ideas about Bitcoin - I think promotion should be done privately (unofficialbtc.com being a good example).

On a related note I was also thinking of taking the first steps for the organization of a Bitcoin Commodity Fund, basically an entity that would attempt to manipulate the exchange rate in a transparent way, creating more stability and in return increasing adoption (a bit like those "why can't someone just throw 21 million $ at backing bitcoin dollar parity" posts we've seen a lot of)
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October 25, 2011, 10:02:47 PM
 #32

I think its needed at least for a limited time, lots of people have a need to see some sort of body that speaks for confidence otherwise they get spooked, at least it may give more confidence to potential new users.
repentance
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October 25, 2011, 10:25:36 PM
 #33

I think its needed at least for a limited time, lots of people have a need to see some sort of body that speaks for confidence otherwise they get spooked, at least it may give more confidence to potential new users.

Confidence in what though?  For an organisation like the one proposed to have any credibility, it has to be independent from for-profit Bitcoin services.  New users get spooked about price volatility and whether Bitcoin services are going to run off with their BTC/money - two things which the proposed organisation would have no influence over. 

At best, a foundation could issue a set of desirable guidelines for Bitcoin services and list the businesses which claim to comply with those guidelines, but such a list would be meaningless and inspire false confidence unless the foundation had the capacity and the resources to verify those claims.

All I can say is that this is Bitcoin. I don't believe it until I see six confirmations.
Gavin Andresen
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October 25, 2011, 10:29:45 PM
 #34

if an organization like this pays the developers what kind of trouble could we get into?
Depends on who "we" is and what corporate form the Foundation takes...

... but the one of the first orders of business will be more discussions with lawyers who know about those types of things.  

How often do you get the chance to work on a potentially world-changing project?
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October 25, 2011, 10:29:52 PM
 #35

Bad idea. It's not necessary, the beauty of Bitcoin is its decentralization. You are changing the rules of the game.

No it's fine. The beauty of it is that even if it calls itself 'official' it doesn't have any special standing concerning bitcoin. If it maintains good reputation it will have influence with some, if not then not.

It's not going to be anything more than people working to provide guidance, education, whatever. If it turns out that it works better to have a focal point org then it will do well.

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Jered Kenna (TradeHill)
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October 25, 2011, 10:30:44 PM
 #36

I have some office space in San Francisco (SOMA) that I would be willing to donate for an office / meeting place. If it grows in to something larger and is used like a co-working space for Bitcoin I could help out there as well.

We all feel the same about the decentralized benefits of Bitcoin. At the same time I've been throwing a lot of money at lawyers, I'd assume Mark is and probably a few others. The regulation around Bitcoin will have the biggest impact on the exchanges initially but everyone is concerned. There are plenty of other reasons to form this foundation as well

We would have to make very clear that this is not a decision making body for the Bitcoin community as a whole.

Jered

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October 25, 2011, 11:10:18 PM
 #37

Great idea I'm in!  Grin

I would like to add there is a website called
http://www.unofficialbtc.com/    maybe they would like to be the "hub" for this just a thought.

My vision for UBTC is a little different than the what's been discussed here so far, but there are some similarities. One of the highest priorities I have for any UBTC related venture is that it showcase the positive aspects of bitcoin, paving the way for other entrepreneurial and altruistic innovators. The planning for the upcoming March convention is going very well and I would be happy to help organize any other large scale bitcoin conferences, be they developer oriented or encompassing contributors with other talents.

Unofficial BTC is definitely aiming for profitability, however, and that alone should disqualify it from representing the Bitcoin community in any court. No, I agree that a not-for-profit foundation is the way to go and that it should focus on being the "Official" Bitcoin Legal Watchdog while leaving the rest of it to other organizations.

Still around.
repentance
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October 25, 2011, 11:17:57 PM
 #38

I have some office space in San Francisco (SOMA) that I would be willing to donate for an office / meeting place. If it grows in to something larger and is used like a co-working space for Bitcoin I could help out there as well.

We all feel the same about the decentralized benefits of Bitcoin. At the same time I've been throwing a lot of money at lawyers, I'd assume Mark is and probably a few others. The regulation around Bitcoin will have the biggest impact on the exchanges initially but everyone is concerned. There are plenty of other reasons to form this foundation as well

We would have to make very clear that this is not a decision making body for the Bitcoin community as a whole.

Jered

To be honest, I've been wondering whether the exchanges have considered joining together to fight these legal battles.  It's not an uncommon thing to do when there's a specific legal problem in an industry and it not only reduces the costs per organisation but it also helps develop a cohesive legal strategy.  genjix has also mentioned having spent thousands on legal issues with the banks, so putting together a joint legal fighting fund might be an idea worth considering if you can all agree on which battles need to be fought first, which jurisdictions should be your first priority, and who to use as people representatives.

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, 11:29:29 PM
 #39

Bitcoin is not the anti-thesis of being organized.

+1 here too
( I hope you are right ! )

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October 25, 2011, 11:30:17 PM
 #40

if an organization like this pays the developers what kind of trouble could we get into?

That was my first thought.

It seems to me that in order to avoid attack or attempts at control, the rules need to explicitly enforce that the foundation has no influence over developer decisions or which developers get paid for which features etc.
There would surely need to be some transparent external voting mechanism donators use, so that the foundation is more or less just a conduit/pool for the funds.
(simply managing the operational aspects of the voting and distribution)

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