Andreas M. Antonopoulos, Chief Security Officer at Blockchain.info and overall smart bitcoin dude, recently announced on Twitter that he will be leaving the Bitcoin Foundation. Last month, Antonopoulos left the Foundation’s anti-poverty committee, but now he is leaving the Bitcoin Foundation altogether.
The Bitcoin Foundation’s Origins
Back in September 2012, the Bitcoin Foundation’s original members, which included Charlie Shrem, Mark Karpeles, and Gavin Andresen, created a lobbying group with the stated mission to “standardize, protect and promote the use of Bitcoin cryptographic money for the benefit of users worldwide”. The Foundation has had many successes, including sponsoring the popular bitcoin.org and the first annual Blockchain Awards. However, several internal as well as external issues have piled up, and the Bitcoin Foundation has started to implode.
The Bitcoin Foundation in Disarray
Many of the Foundation’s key members have been accused of corruption, illegal activity, and questionable ethics. Charlie Shrem soon resigned from the Bitcoin Foundation after being arrested for suspicion of federal money laundering in January 2014. Next, following the collapse of Mt. Gox, the disgraced CEO Mark Karpeles resigned from the Foundation’s Board of Directors in late February. And perhaps the most controversial event in the Foundation’s history, Brock Pierce was elected to the Board of Directors in May.
Pierce is the subject of many scandals and controversies, with the most talked-about being his association with convicted child molestor Marc Collins-Rector and previous business dealings. However, Pierce was never charged criminally.
“I am guilty of nothing and have never been convicted, or even charged, with a crime.”
While it is technically true that Pierce was not found guilty, many believe that anyone representing Bitcoin should not be tied to scandals. After all, Shrem resigned primarily to protect Bitcoin‘s public image.
“I resigned because I had to think about Bitcoin, the foundation, and its future… I decided that regardless of the merits of my case, anyone representing Bitcoin, including foundation execs, should have a standard of excellence and transcend any scandal. I resigned within 2 hours of returning home from prison.”
Outraged by Pierce’s appointment to the Board as well as the Foundation’s past troubles, many members began resigning, having lost faith in the Bitcoin Foundation. One of the former members, Olivier Janssens, even created a $100,000 bounty for anyone who could create software to replace the Bitcoin Foundation. Mike Hearn’s “Lighthouse”, a decentralised crowdfunding platform, recently won the bounty, and could replace the highly centralised and mismanaged Bitcoin Foundation.
To make matters worse, Brock Pierce recently announced Realcoin – a dollar-backed altcoin that competes with Bitcoin and may have copied Coinaaa. All in all, the Bitcoin Foundation is marred by numerous scandals and appears to have lost its original purpose. That’s why it should come as little surprise that Andreas Antonopoulos doesn’t want to have “even the smallest association with the Bitcoin Foundation.”
Gavin Andresen is predictably upset about Andreas’s announcement, but overall the Bitcoin community appears to support him.
“I think it’s very clear to most people that this foundation is not achieving anything useful and has a very bad image.”
“Olivier Janssens was completely right on looking for alternative to the foundation.”
These are just some of r/bitcoin’s reaction’s to Antonopoulos’s announcement. While the Bitcoin Foundation was a good idea, it’s clear that it’s not working. And when Bitcoin is already associated with Silk Road and other illegal activities, the last thing the cryptocurrency needs is representation by a corrupt “Foundation”.
Last modified: March 4, 2021 4:40 PM