Controversial appointments lead to Bitcoin Foundation resignations


As bitcoin matures, a number of leaders in the field are becoming more conscious of the image that the crypto-currency community presents. Following the most recent round of appointments to the Bitcoin Foundation, a number of key members have tendered their resignations, starting with an announcement by Patrick Alexander on the Foundation’s forums. Alexander cited the involvement of three members with whom he did not feel the bitcoin community should be associated, including Charlie Shrem, who allegedly engaged in money laundering and associated crimes; Mark Karpeles, who has been accused of misappropriating customer funds; and Brock Pierce, the child star who has been associated with alleged pedophilia and was recently elected to an industry seat on the Bitcoin Foundation. “This is not the direction this foundation needs to take,” Alexander wrote. “The foundation members need to emulate very high moral values and ethics in business and in personal dealings, especially as it involves money. So far, the track record of prominent Bitcoin Foundation members has been abysmal. I know that most foundation members are probably swell people and are not like this. However, the acts of a few, have overshadowed us all unfortunately.” “I no longer want to be associated with these people… It is my wish that as the Bitcoin Foundation lay in ashes, another organization can rise up from these ashes and take its proper place representing the great idea that is bitcoin.” Several other posts were of the same nature as Alexander’s. Stephen Sunderlin wrote: “Effective immediately I would like to terminate my corporate sponsorship of the Bitcoin Foundation. Please remove my logo and company name from The Bitcoin Foundation website and any of the Bitcoin Foundation materials.” Patrick Levell stated: “Since my membership expires in less than two weeks, I will show my support by saying that I have no intention to renew my membership … I will be removing any and all association with the Bitcoin Foundation from my online identities ASAP.” Michael Goldstein said: “I would like to terminate my membership immediately. Please remove my name from the website.”

‘Mighty Ducks’ star not welcome

A number of other members who resigned from the Bitcoin Foundation also cited recent appointments, though almost all were careful to explicitly state that they were not distancing themselves from bitcoin as a technology. “I’m sorry, but in light of the recent allegations with the new foundation appointments, I cannot in good conscience be involved with such an organization,” wrote member Christian Antkow. “I continue to be a supporter of bitcoin by mining and running a full node, but can no longer support the foundation in its current incarnation.” Lifetime member and bitcoin millionaire Olivier Janssens was particularly disturbed by the inclusion of ‘Mighty Ducks’ star Brock Pierce, and offered to join the Foundation as a platinum member and pay the $100 thousand fee if it would commit to remove Pierce from the board. Janssens also urged the Foundation to update bylaws to prevent from joining the board those who are involved in ongoing lawsuits “of the nasty kind,” have been convicted “for anything nasty” or whose image is potentially damaging. Pierce has been sued for sexual abuse and fraud alongside X-Men director Bryan Singer, who allegedly abused underage boys, according to BuzzFeed. Both men vehemently deny the allegations. “It’s all old news,” Pierce told the news source. “The allegations that have been written about are in relation to a company that I co-founded when I was 17. They have been online since then, and anyone who wanted to read about them could have done so. And none of it is true, at least as far as it relates to me. I’m not even gay.”

Further protests in the community

Pierce’s denial appears to hold little sway with the greater bitcoin community on Reddit, where a number of users expressed their frustration with Pierce’s election. One user questioned why the Foundation would accept Charlie Shrem’s resignation, which followed his alleged involvement with money laundering, only to replace him with someone who presented a bigger image problem. Charlie Shrem, who is an active user of Reddit, was asked how he felt about his vacant seat being filled by someone with “far more serious” allegations behind him. “My feelings don’t really matter right now, and I don’t want to give the press more fuel to write negative things,” wrote Shrem. “The foundation is doing some really amazing things. Lets focus on the future! Keep praying, all your support is helping me thru [sic]these troubled times.” This remarkably politic response demonstrates a trend within the bitcoin community of personal responsibility to the idea of crypto-currency. In his resignation Alexander explained that it is his hope that another organization will emerge to represent “the great idea that is bitcoin.” It appears a lot of people who are disgruntled with the Bitcoin Foundation are headed to the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute, an organization described as one focusing on promotion and development rather than politics. This is the mission statement from the newest bitcoin entity: “The Satoshi Nakamoto Institute is eager to share with the world the best ideas past, present, and future in cryptography, distributed networks, economic freedom, and freedom of information. We are dedicated to curating the best primary source literature that challenge the status quo through technological innovation.”


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Brock Pierce is a terrible person (if the accusations are true) and is making a bad name for Bitcoin. He needs to resign as soon as possible.