Jon Matonis has announced he will resign from his position as executive director of the Bitcoin Foundation, and that he intends to step down from the group’s board of directors at the end of his term on 31st December.
Bitcoin Foundation general counsel Patrick Murck will take over immediately as its newly appointed executive director, while Matonis’ board seat will be filled in a January 2015 election that will also appoint new members to positions vacated by Peter Vessenes and Gavin Andresen.
Matonis has served as the head of the bitcoin industry’s oldest trade organisation since July 2013, when current Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation Peter Vessenes resigned as executive director at the nine-month-old foundation. Matonis served as a board director and secretary for the group from its 2012 inception to the time he assumed the executive director position.
In statements to CoinDesk, Matonis voiced his hope that the Bitcoin Foundation will remain a powerful advocate for bitcoin, and expressed his personal gratitude to those who have been involved with the organisation.
“Leading the Bitcoin Foundation has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Merging the diverse interests of the bitcoin community has been intellectually and professionally stimulating and now its time to pass the baton.”
Matonis intends to continue to work professionally in the bitcoin community through private-sector initiatives. He will continue to hold the title of founding member due to his early involvement in the group. The Bitcoin Foundation is currently seeking to fill the role of general counsel, which has now been vacated by Murck.
Matonis previously held positions at investment management and digital payments consulting company Lydia Group, encrypted messaging startup Hush Communications, authentication services pioneer Verisign, and international credit card giant Visa.
A graduate from George Washington University, Matonis holds a BA in Economics, and also studied at the University of Maryland.
The time has come for me to resign as Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation. Thank you for all of your passionate support! More soon.
— Jon Matonis (@jonmatonis) October 30, 2014
Tenure marked by controversies
Although his appointment was originally greeted with enthusiasm by the community, Matonis’ tenure at the Bitcoin Foundation has not been without its share of controversies, the most notable coming earlier this year when two other members of the board of directors resigned amid accusations of criminal wrongdoing outside of the foundation.
Former BitInstant CEO and current advisor at Payza Charlie Shrem was the first to abdicate his post in January, stepping down from his seat after he was arrested in connection with enabling commerce on the online black market Silk Road. Shrem subsequently pleaded guilty to unlicensed money transmission and is awaiting sentencing.
The Bitcoin Foundation faced criticism from the community at the time for its handling of both incidents. The group would later again face criticism in May, as members exited following controversial appointments resulting from the group’s voting process.
Expanding international focus
There were numerous accomplishments during his tenure, as well. As executive director, Matonis also sought to expand the international reach of the Bitcoin Foundation, launching its first international chapters in December and overseeing the relocation of the group to London to align with these global goals.
In the subsequent months, the Bitcoin Foundation would add 10 international groups, including new chapters in Australia, Mexico and most recently France.
Matonis further led the organisation’s attempts to bring new standardization to the technology, championing such initiatives as establishing a three-letter currency code (XBT) for bitcoin, and later a Unicode-approved bitcoin symbol.
Matonis also remained a visible figure in the bitcoin community, engaging community members at major conferences, contributing posts to the Bitcoin Foundation blog and writing opinion pieces for CoinDesk, where he continues to serve as a contributing editor.
His work has appeared in American Banker, Forbes and PaymentsSource, among other publications.
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