Dissent Lingers as Bitcoin Foundation Denounces Bankruptcy Threat

(@pete_rizzo_) | Published on April 7, 2015 at 19:45 BST
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Bitcoin Foundation

The Bitcoin Foundation board of directors has issued a new statement on the controversy surrounding its current financial situation and proposed restructuring.

Overall, the blog post seeks to clarify perceived misstatements issued over the weekend in a post that generated widespread discussion in the community. The full release takes aim at accusations that the organisation is “bankrupt” and has fired “90% of its staff”.

Though attributed to the Bitcoin Foundation board of directors, the statement does not seem to represent the board in its entirety. Both board members representing the individual members of the foundation, Olivier Janssens and Jim Harper, state that the release was prepared and distributed without their knowledge.

Perhaps most notably, the post alleges that a measure to split up the foundation into two entities, one focused on promotion, the other on core development, has been approved by the board of directors, stating:

”In the last board meeting, the management team presented an austere, yet clear, path forward for the board. The board of directors voted on March 31, 2015 to proceed with the strategic plan and to work out a communications plan to roll out the decision along with the finished annual report for members and the public.”

The statements have been questioned by Janssens and Harper, though the latter called the release “a fair correction of some details” relating to the organisation's financial situation.

The post suggests the foundation's financial troubles are purely tied to the decline in the price of bitcoin, not the result of its spending as suggested, and explains that interim executive director Patrick Murck will continue in his current position without pay.

Vote dispute

Both Harper and Janssens told CoinDesk that while a formal vote was taken at the last board meeting, they are not satisfied that the proposal was approved as suggested.

Janssens took his criticism of the statement to the Bitcoin Foundation forum, suggesting that the vote was limited to a decision on how the organization should proceed with regards to its obligations to its staff.

“We only voted on firing staff,” Janssens wrote. “No plan was approved. The board minutes will back that up. To quote Patrick ‘the only thing that we’re voting on in this vote is to reduce cost by cutting headcount’.”

Janssens also hit back at the language used by the post, suggesting that any issues with specific numbers or phrases he used were secondary to the overall message, that staff has been laid off and the group’s financial future is currently in question.

"It does not address my main point of hiding the real financial status from its members for so long," Janssens told CoinDesk.

In separate remarks, Harper attempted to categorize the proposal as one that lacks sufficient depth, especially in contrast to one he suggested to the board.

“[The proposal] didn’t have a list of employees, near-term activities, long-term activities. Taking the parts of the document about the foundation and what it should do, ask yourself if you could run a foundation on that,” he said.

Brock Pierce and Mickey Malka reported that they agree with the document’s version of events, and expressed their disappointment that the continued debate may erode the public image of the organisation.

The Bitcoin Foundation did not respond to requests for further comment at press time.

Argument image via Shutterstock

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