Meet the 13 Candidates Running in Next Week's Bitcoin Foundation Election

CoinDesk looks at the nominees for this year's Bitcoin Foundation elections, set to begin next week.

AccessTimeIconFeb 10, 2015 at 8:15 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 10, 2024 at 3:11 a.m. UTC
Bitcoin Foundation
Bitcoin Foundation

Elections for the Bitcoin Foundation are set for 13th to 19th February, following a race less than a year ago that brought new light to the purpose and standards of the organisation.

After widespread frustration with the last round of elections and appointments, a number of Bitcoin Foundation members canceled their memberships over concerns about the general direction of the organisation.

In the year since, extra attention has been paid to the Bitcoin Foundation by all in the bitcoin ecosystem, prompting it to refine its mission. Under current executive director Patrick Murck, the foundation has focused on developing the bitcoin protocol while trying to repair its perception in the media.

This February election aims to fill the two individual membership seats currently held by outgoing executive director Jon Matonis and current chief scientist Gavin Andresen.

Nominations closed on Friday with the 13 candidates below.

Jim Harper

Cato Institute
Cato Institute

Harper is a senior fellow at libertarian research group the Cato Institute, and until last month, served as the foundation’s global policy counsel.

Prior to assuming his responsibilities at the foundation he was the Cato Institute director of information policy studies for almost 10 years, and has acted as counsel to various committees in the US House of Representatives and the Senate.

He has also counseled PayPal, VeriSign and other payments companies during his time in Washington.

Bruce Fenton

bruce fenton
bruce fenton

He is also the advisor and organizer of the Dubai Bitcoin Conference, Satoshi Roundtable and the forthcoming New England Bitcoin Conference.

Notably, Fenton has positioned his candidacy as one that would seek to expand the foundation's recently limited operations.

“I agree with the need to simplify and focus the Bitcoin Foundation on core Dev,” he said of his candidacy on the Foundation forums. “I'd also like to see the voice of the foundation used to reduce regulation and educate lawmakers and global regulators if it can be done in a cost-effective manner.”

Theo Chino 

A New York-based information technology and services consultant, Chino is an activist in the French Socialist Party and a former Green Party candidate in the New York City mayoral race.

He has worked to see the bitcoin symbol and currency ISO code officially recognized, and last year he opened a case in the Court of Claims against New York State Department of Financial Services superintendent Ben Lawsky over his supposed abuse of power in seeking to regulate bitcoin.

Michael Perklin


Perklin is a cybersecurity expert with more than a decade of experience in information security. He has previously acted as a cyber investigator, digital-forensic investigator, reverse engineer, application tester and computer programmer.

Currently a principal at Bitcoinsultants, he is a bitcoin security firm that carries out security audits, source-code reviews, penetration tests and implements cold storage solutions.

I will do everything I can to help publish complete standards for professionals, bitcoin software, security, and more,” he said on the Foundation forums. “These standards will ensure that every developer, piece of software and business has a clear path to certification.”

Jeremy Gardner 

Gardner is the cofounder of the College Cryptocurrency Network, the nonprofit student network taking bitcoin to colleges worldwide, and operations director at Augur, a decentralized prediction market platform.

If elected he intends to bring a greater sense of democracy to the Foundation while focusing on the growth of the blockchain technology.

"What became clear to me, almost immediately, was that I have to serve as a representative of the future of the blockchain," he told CryptoCoinNews. "If elected to the Board, I fully intend to serve [...] those in the 'bitcoin 2.0' space, who are building the technologies with the potential to radically shape the world."

Cody Wilson

cody wilson
cody wilson

He has been outspoken on his goal to try to disband the Foundation from within if he is elected, saying:

"I will run on a platform of the complete dissolution of the Bitcoin Foundation and will begin and end every single one of my public statements with that message."

Dima Starodubcev 

Starodubcev is a cyber•Fund architect and the creator of cyber•Shares. An Early bitcoin miner and investor in Ethereum, MaidSafe and BitShares, he aims to make this election of directors the last at the Foundation.

“If the Bitcoin Foundation does not evolve,” he has said, “bitcoin will have significantly lower chances to be successful.”

Among his steps to betterment is creating greater transparency of Foundation operations by utilizing the blockchain.

Olivier Janssens

Janssens is an early bitcoin adopter, entrepreneur and investor; a significant backer in Eris and Lighthouse, the bitcoin-powered crowdfunding application, and the creator of the $100,000 bounty for software that could replace the Foundation.

The Monaco-based bitcoin millionaire and Bitcoin Foundation lifetime member has been outspoken on privacy issues for bitcoin users, believing that the Foundation’s agenda should continue and strive to become more decentralization, increase positive bitcoin awareness and remove any control of bitcoin by the Foundation.

Francis Pouliot 

Pouliot is a public policy analyst and cryptocurrency researcher, the CEO of the Bitcoin Foundation Canada and director of public affairs at the Bitcoin Embassy.

By misallocating and mismanaging resources that are necessary to support technical development, he says, the Foundation has been unable to reach its potential and disappointed many of its members.

“Technical development will become the Bitcoin Foundation’s only essential mission and main expenditure,” he said of his vision, if elected. “Any other activities will be undertaken strictly with the rationale of obtaining resources and tools to protect and develop Bitcoin’s technological infrastructure.”

Vinny Lingham

Lingham is the CEO of Gyft, a mobile gift card startup and its growing bitcoin customer base.

A proponent of blockchain technology, he recently invested in Trustatom for its blockchain-based due diligence service. Lingham has always been keen on peer-to-peer finance having grown up in South Africa, giving him an early sense of bitcoin’s potential to transform local and foreign markets.

He ran for a spot on the board last year, coming in third place.

Scott Morgan 

Scott Morgan is the co-founder of AirBitz, a mobile bitcoin wallet company that aims to onboard rookie bitcoin users, and the BTC Journal. He has more than 25 years' experience insurance, financial, and software startups.

Privacy, anonymity, decentralization and the advancement of the bitcoin technology are just some of the things he intends to concentrate on as a member of the Board.

When asked for his position on a formal 'code of ethics' for foundation directors, he said: "Developing a list of sanctions would only act to foster the very system that we are attempting to replace, that is developing a false sense of moral guidelines etched on a piece of paper."

Bayan Towfiq

Picture 4
Picture 4

He holds degrees in Information and Computer Science and Physics from the University of California at Irvine.

Colin Gallagher

Colin Gallagher
Colin Gallagher

A member of the Bitcoin Foundation’s education committee, Gallagher is running on a platform that he defines broadly as being pro-user choice, bitcoin development, privacy and anonymity.

Gallagher has also made known what he is against in the industry, notably seeking to distance himself the Windhover Principles, a framework of proposals that seek to define how bitcoin companies will seek to deal with issues of transparency and identity.

In a recent interview with CryptoCoinsNews, Gallagher spoke out about a number of issues, including his belief that the Bitcoin Foundation should not engage with government regulators

Correction: An earlier version of this article omitted Colin Gallagher.

Feature image via Shutterstock


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