The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Brock Pierce, the new industry seat of the Bitcoin Foundation’s Board of Director elected to fill the vacated spot previously held by Mark Karpeles, has responded to criticism that he has faced since joining the board at the Bitcoin Foundation. To catch you up to speed, Brock Pierce is a Disney child actor turned entrepreneur. His most recent venture has been to become Co-Founder of KnCMiner.cn. The reasons for the controversy over his appointment are his past ventures in the dotcom bubble, a class-action lawsuit from the Blizzard gaming community pursuing the Internet Gaming Entertainment site that dealt with virtual currencies like that of World of Warcraft and most heatedly discussed, his alleged allegations with a 2000 case revolving around some touchy subjects.
From a recent CCN article:
Yet there remains Brock Pierce’s business history as the founder of IGE. Internet Gaming Entertainment made (then lost) a fortune in trading MMO virtual currency and items for fiat currency. Notably, IGE traded World of Warcraft gold and items farmed by Chinese “players” and bot-operators, for wages verging on the exploitative. Blizzard, creators of the game, blamed IGE for inflation and disruption within the virtual economy. WoW’s lack of hardcoded rules to limit currency issuance, as any Bitcoin campaigner will tell you, made such inflation inevitable. Yet it was chiefly Brock Pierce who exploited the opportunity. Many within the WoW community felt IGE’s practices so detracted from the enjoyment of their $15 per month subscriptions that they filed a multimillion Dollar class action lawsuit against IGE… Which they subsequently won, but not before IGE was gutted and Brock Pierce had migrated to fresh ventures.
Concerning the more serious legal charges; circumstantial evidence (police discovered child pornography in a raid of a Spanish residence shared for over two years by Brock and his partners) and the social phenomenon of guilt-by-association have undeniably tainted Mr. Pierce’s reputation. Justified or not, a majority of TBF voters either failed to thoroughly vet their candidate or failed to anticipate the backlash to his election.
[dropcap size=small]D[/dropcap]espite these points, Brock Pierce responded with this:
It would set a bad precedent for the Foundation, rewarding those who make scurrilous accusations and engage in character assassination, often anonymously.
A resignation also could be perceived as an admission of guilt and I am guilty of nothing and have never been convicted, or even charged, with a crime.
In his defense, Pierce added:
Despite a full investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office, the FBI and the State of California into the allegations, I was never charged with anything whatsoever by anyone and was cleared of any wrongdoing.
He went further to address his position in regards to past resignations.
I am at a loss to explain why they would do so now and not after Mr. Karpeles allowed Mt. Gox to implode or Mr. Shrem was indicted. I am saddened and angered by this.
Brock seems to be mistaken: Charlie Shrem has repeatedly made it clear that after allegations of possible ties of money laundering to his company BitInstant, his resignation was done to restore the credibility of the Bitcoin Foundation and the Bitcoin community as a whole. In the opinion of this writer, the continuation of Brock’s appointment has major potential to weaken Bitcoin’s already darkened reputation in the mainstream media.
What we can tell from his response is that he believes the Bitcoin Foundation is necessary for the success of Bitcoin. This itself is highly contested. As we saw last week with Olivier Jannsen’s bounty of 250 BTC in replacing the foundation, with the resignation of ten Foundation members, and constant heat surrounding the situation, it is apparent that much of the Bitcoin community does not exactly feel the same.
The main point of contention is whether the Bitcoin Foundation should continue to exist. Some believe it stands against everything that Bitcoin was created to liberate international money from – centralized, secretive and political alignment. And that is the question left to the Bitcoin community.
Brock Pierce has made it clear, he will not resign. Despite the animosity and the possible damages to the Bitcoin community, Brock Pierce is here to stay on the Bitcoin Foundation’s board.
In the opinion of this writer, after seeing all the mainstream media equate the Foundation with the community as a whole (saying that the Foundation governs the community or is the de facto leadership of the community), it is a dangerous move to continue the foundation’s legitimacy. Perhaps it’s time to reform or disband it. One thing’s for sure; Something needs to change.
The full text of the letter can be found here.
Meanings by the author, not CCN.