Bobby Lee and Brock Pierce replace Shrem and Karpeles at the Bitcoin Foundation: choice causes controversy

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Brock Pierce and Bobby Lee

Bobby Lee and Brock Pierce are the two names chosen to join the Bitcoin Foundation’s board of directors. The popular CEO of the exchange BTC China and the venture capitalist were recently elected, but the decision is already begetting a wave of controversy.

The election initially included three candidates. Besides Lee and Pierce, the CEO of mobile gift card provider Gyft, Vinny Lingham, was also in the race. While the boss of BTC China got 79 percent of approval, Pierce scored 65 percent and Lingham “only” 63 percent.

The two new representatives will join the five existing board members – Jon Matonis, Gavin Andresen, Elizabeth Ploshay, Micky Malka and Peter Vessenes – “for a new total of seven board seats starting June 1, 2014“, the Bitcoin Foundation announced on their blog.

The election was surrounded by controversy since the beginning, with Lee and Pierce are replacing the former BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem and Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles. They both resigned this year due to polemic reasons: Shrem is being accused of money laundering activities connected to the Silk Road bust and Karpeles is currently dealing with the downfall of his former cryptocurrency exchange.

However, the controversy continues to stain the choices of the Bitcoin Foundation and the result is visible on Bitcoin’s Reddit, for instance. The election of Brock Pierce, previously connected to a sexual scandal, is being highly criticized by the majority of the community.

“Brock Pierce is in the middle of a huge criminal sex scandal right now, named as a co-defendant on a very public suit with a high profile Hollywood director. I can’t ignore Brock Pierce’s legal troubles”, the Redditor ‘amel14’ wrote. “Why oust Charlie Shrem for being accused of involvement in money laundering only to replace him with someone accused of involvement in child abuse? In what (…) world does that make sense? I don’t know anything about Pierce, but if it’s supposedly about image they’ve just blown it big time”, the user ‘cointiki’ added.

Besides, some Bitcoiners also see Brock’s connection with the Bitcoin mining hardware producer KnCMiner as a problem and a conflict of interests.

Still, the election of Bobby Lee, CEO of a Chinese exchange that operates in a country that keeps changing its mind about Bitcoin, is also being targeted and considered an odd choice. Controversy is definitely still clouding the foundation’s image.

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Maria Santos

Maria is an experienced journalist currently living in the UK. She has been writing about Bitcoin and the altcoin universe since 2013. She is also a member of the Lifeboat Foundation's New Money Systems Board and a big cryptocurrency supporter.

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