Bitcoin Foundation Holds $4 Million in Bitcoin, Spends $150k Each Month

Bitcoin Foundation discusses its expanding operations and past controversies at its annual members meeting.

AccessTimeIconMay 21, 2014 at 7:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 10, 2024 at 3:07 a.m. UTC

The Bitcoin Foundation has released its annual Members Meeting Transcript, a 22-page document that provides a broad overview of the non-profit's recent initiatives as well as its future plans for promoting bitcoin around the globe.

Perhaps most notably, the Bitcoin Foundation revealed new details about its finances, with Executive Director Jon Matonis indicating the company is now spending $150,000 per month on its operations, or roughly $1.8m per year.

Matonis went on to note that the foundation has $4.6m equivalent in assets, and that 90% of its assets are in bitcoin. However, he suggested at the height of bitcoin's price increase, the foundation had accumulated roughly $7m in assets.

The Executive Director said that the foundation is likely to pursue plans to continue to improve how it uses the funds it earns from individual members, corporate members and anonymous donations, stating:

"The strategy going forward and with revamping the fees is that we will be able to continue and expand our budget without going cash flow negative and without borrowing from our endowment."

At present, Matonis said the foundation is not cashflow positive, and that it is borrowing about 40% from its endowment each month.

Expanding operations

The board discussed its progress on one of its main initiatives for 2014, spreading awareness for bitcoin abroad through the addition of affiliate programmes, which most recently included new chapters in Mexico, Germany and the Netherlands.

Matonis indicated that the foundation is currently aiming to grow to 18 affiliate programmes by the end of the year, noting that the approach provides the organisation with a low-cost way to expand its footprint.

Overall, Matonis suggested the foundation and its members may adopt a more active approach that targets key global markets, stating:

"We may decide that India is a great place to go into and plant our flag there and really make a push in India. Go into China and really make a push there. These don’t have to be the things that are driven by whether or not those countries are ready, we can proactively steer that."

He reiterated that these local chapters need not change their rules or by-laws to join the programme and that all appointments are subject to a two-year agreement that either party can terminate.

Educating lawmakers

Addressing the need for more favourable bitcoin regulation, board members suggested that the foundation may see this as more of a long-term goal.

For example, Matonis noted the lawmakers must be first educated about bitcoin and its potential benefits before tackling any policy issues. This isn't to say that the foundation doesn't intend to expand its efforts to increase awareness of bitcoin among global lawmakers, he said.

Matonis continued, saying that the foundation is currently in the process of taking what it learned from dealing with regulators in the US and replicating it in key jurisdictions:

"Brussels obviously is top on that list. London is high on the list. I would say that after that, we would start looking at the places in Asia as well."

Increasing facetime

In regards to criticisms about the board members' own interactions with the community, the foundation noted that it would like to see a greater use of its online community forum, which is currently only used by roughly 10% to 15% of its membership.

Further, Matonis said the foundation is taking steps to ensure the community that does use this channel has its concerns addressed in a timely fashion, stating:

"We just hired resource part time to be that interface so that if there’s things that are getting unanswered that are really important, we promoted our moderator to be the member communicator on the forums which I think is a very positive step because now things will get answered."

Future for conference series

The foundation revealed that it is not currently earning proceeds from its annual conference, the most recently of which – Bitcoin2014 – took place in Amsterdam last weekend.

Matonis suggested that the foundation is exploring the idea of licensing out future conferences, but that it would seek member input on such decisions.

"We currently have an opportunity to do that similar to the way that the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) does it in Las Vegas or in Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. We’re looking into those options."

Board member controversies

Matonis also discussed the controversial resignations of former board members Charlie Shrem and Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles, stating that the board was fortunate that both members resigned voluntarily:

"They recognized both on their own that it was the appropriate thing for them to do for the foundation, for the membership and also for bitcoin to resign from the foundation. There were no votes or anything that were held to eject them. I think that we’re very fortunate that that’s the way that it happened."

Board members also briefly answered a member question relating to the recent appointment of venture capitalist Brock Pierce, with unidentified one board member stating:

"Generally, I think that kind of thing is a huge distraction for us and it does take resources and time and energy and I would prefer we not have to do that."
For more on the foundation's newest affiliate chapters, read the organisation's full announcement here

Bitcoin image via Shutterstock


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