Francis Pouliot – Bitcoin Foundation Elections

Journalist:
Joel Dalais @JoelDalais
February 5, 2015

We have reached out to the candidates for the upcoming Bitcoin Foundation Elections and asked each candidate a set of questions. In the interest of fairness, all candidates were asked the same questions at the same time, and all responses (that did respond) have been received before the publication of this article.

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Francis Pouliot

Is a bitcoin miner and consultant. He holds most of his assets in bitcoin that he uses on a daily basis.

He was and is a libertarian and free market activist before the advent of bitcoin.

Tell us a little about your involvement in the Cryptocurrency (or related) sector?

I’m director of public affairs at the Bitcoin Embassy, the first physical space in the world dedicated entirely to cryptocurrency. In this capacity I’m a lecturer on Bitcoin and I implement the Embassy’s non-profit activities to promote Bitcoin adoption. I am also CEO of the Bitcoin Foundation Canada.

I am also an advocate for decentralized technologies, internet freedom, free markets, privacy and cryptography. I’ve recently also become very interested in the concepts of anarcho-capitalism and how they may be implemented using blockchain technology.

I’m also a Bitcoin miner and consultant. I hold most of my assets in Bitcoin, which I use on a daily basis.

What is your primary reason for running for a Director seat?

My primary reason for running in this election is to ensure that my platform of steering the Bitcoin Foundation completely towards the technology aspect of Bitcoin is implemented. I want the Foundation to focus all its energy and resources on supporting Bitcoin’s technical infrastructure. This means financing core development, creating training programs for new developers, taking a leadership position in hard forks, etc. It should also strive to ensure that the Bitcoin development process remains active and decentralized. I think it should stop diverting its resources to secondary mandates such as lobbying and the affiliate program.

How do you plan to achieve this goal?

I will ensure that staff members, notably the Executive Director, have the resources necessary to implement this goal. This entails obtaining more resources and ensuring that existing resources are not allocated to other secondary goals such as lobbying, the affiliate program or other enterprises.

As a board member I will thus support Patrick’s work, suggest project ideas, help him implement them by making my network of contacts available to him and ensure that the Foundation can raise the funds for this projects to be successful. I will also ensure that Gavin Andresen, the Foundation’s Chief Scientist, and the rest of the technical team have all they need to continue doing their excellent work and grow their operations.

Once achieved what would be your secondary aim(s) as a Director?

I have two secondary goals as Director. The first is to act as a watchdog on behalf of individual members. This entails communicating directly with members my concerns about the Foundation’s management (if any) and receiving complaints and questions directly from members.

My second goal is to help the Foundation establish a coherent, policy position regarding regulation of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency and articulate this position on its behalf using my own resources (i.e. with little or no added expenditure). I believe the Foundation should not be involved in direct lobbying, but this doesn’t mean that it can’t take the position of a thought leader. I want the Foundation to adopt a firm stance against any form of technology-specific regulation, i.e. any rules enforced by government that specifically discriminate against individuals, businesses and developers that use Bitcoin.

I would like the Foundation to foster collaboration with the many organizations around the world also involved in Bitcoin policy thought leadership such as Coin Center, the Digital Chamber of Commerce and regional associations of Bitcoin advocates such as the Bitcoin Embassy and the Bitcoin Foundation Canada.

What are your thoughts on the free market?

The establishment of a free-market is the only possible process by which a society can achieve lasting prosperity. In fact, most social problems are the direct consequence of restrictions on free-trade, infringements of property rights and the denial by governments of the self-ownership of individuals.

My first internship was as a researcher at the Institute of Economic Affairs, a policy think tank founded at the suggestion of Friedrich Hayek to promote free-market principles. I then became a policy analyst at the Montreal Economic Institute, another free-market think tank which battles Quebec and Canada’s notably “socialist” set of policies. I was also briefly a health policy analyst at the Fraser Institute which promotes private health care. I am also an active member of a libertarian-leaning political party, contributor to a libertarian/conservative newspaper and board member of the Student Association promoting the right to free association and non-membership of student unions.

Should there be interaction from the Foundation with regulatory bodies?

In principle, there is no problem with an association of Bitcoin community members such as the Foundation interacting with regulatory bodies. As a libertarian, I am naturally against regulation. I do not intend to idly stand by while arbitrary decrees are imposed upon us, and, as such, I believe that stakeholders such as individuals, private corporations or local Bitcoin advocacy groups should actively engage government officials and regulators to ensure that no discriminatory regulation or legislation concerning Bitcoin occur. However, I do not believe that the Foundation is the appropriate organization to fulfill this role.

What is your reasoning for the above answer?

It seems to me that the Foundation has an “identity crisis” because its mandate is simply too broad. It cannot be at the same time a “Linux Foundation-style” organization and a lobby group such as the Digital Chamber of Commerce or think tank such as Coin Center. Because it has given itself too many goals, each goal has been inefficiently carried out.

Policy is inherently local and jurisdictional while the Foundation aims to be a global organization. I don’t think non-US members appreciate that their contributions are being spent on lobbying in Washington while the Foundation does nothing to prevent their own governments from obstructing the progress of Bitcoin.

What do you think about alternative coins?

I have a positive view of many alternative coins, especially coins that serve a different purpose than Bitcoin such as BitShares, SAFEcoin, Ethereum, Namecoin (crypto 2.0). I also have a positive view of Litecoin, which has a pro-active and highly competent development team. I believe in the process of competition and it is important for Bitcoin users to have alternatives in order for the Bitcoin ecosystem to always feel the need to improve itself. Having altcoins around is an added incentive to have strong development of Bitcoin. I think the Foundation should be completely neutral towards altcoins, neither promote nor hinder their use and development.

What do think about the international efforts of the Foundation?

As CEO of the Bitcoin Foundation Canada, the Foundation’s affiliate chapter, I am the candidate which knows this topic best. I don’t think this program is a success and I think its expansion should cease immediately. To make it short, I think the Affiliate Program was too ambitious and conceived with a “top-down” mentality and franchise model which is not appropriate for the Bitcoin community. I think the Foundation should re-structure the affiliate model into a looser “partnership” model, where the Foundation would enter into an equal partnership with other organizations rather than trying to integrate them in its structure as affiliates.

What is your contact information for interested parties?

Email: francis@bitcoinembassy.ca
Website: https://btcfoundation.ca/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/pouliotfrancis
Bitcoin Foundation: Francis Pouliot
Any other: 855 922-3622 (Bitcoin Embassy landline)
The Distributed Opinion: https://bitcoin.consider.it/francis-pouliot

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We at CCN would like to thank Francis for taking the time out to reply to us and to wish him luck for the upcoming elections!

Other recent articles related to the elections that you may find of interest include Bitcoin Foundation Elections: Distributed Opinion and Bitcoin Foundation Elections – February.

Continue to follow us for more updates and interviews as we move closer to the election date.

Joel Dalais @JoelDalais

Joel loves Bitcoin and Digital Currency. He holds a BSc (hons) in Criminology with Criminal Justice Studies and Sociology, contributes for Bitcoin Magazine, is an Ambassador for Coloured Coins, Software tester and Advises for GreenCoinX and MultiSigX, and is Director of IBWT ("In Bitcoin We Trust"), a Digital Currency Exchange.