In a proposal to create an alternative to the Bitcoin Foundation, early adopter, and alleged bitcoin millionaire, Olivier Janssens, is offering $100,000 in bitcoins to help form a new internet based organization to serve as the digital currency’s main development and promotional group. Janssens’ proposal occurs after the Foundation has been recently criticized following the nomination of new Board members. The voting of new Board members was to replace seats vacated by Charlie Shrem and Mark Karpeles. A portion of existing of members were unhappy that the Foundation had voted in Brock Pierce as a Board member who has been cited in connection convicted sex offenders. As a result, a movement by members was formed to quit from the Foundation. Among those joining the movement and becoming the most vocal against the Bitcoin Founation was Olivier Janssens.
In his new proposal which he floated on Reddit, more than just unease with the electing of Pierce, Janssens voiced several problems he had with the Bitcoin Foundation. Most notably, Janssens explained that the value of bitcoin as a currency in the hands of the people was thwarted by its future being controlled by a non-transparent political group.
The Bitcoin foundation has had its role in the last two years. Unfortunately, it is internally recreating the same archaic political system that fails to work for society. Bitcoin is the currency of the internet generation. It puts the power back into the hands of the people. You cannot expect its main representative organization to be exactly the opposite: A non-transparent, political and secretive elite.
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In replace of the Bitcoin Foundation, Jansens is proposing the creation of an internet based open source platform which would have the ability to fund bitcoin core development as well as lobbying. The platform would be an open system where the community decides on where to use resources as well as core developers and lobbyists reporting the goals and costs of their projects before they are voted on. The competition to create this platform is open to everyone, with Janssens selection a winner in one month.
Even before the current voting episode, the Bitcoin Foundation’s existence has been questioned. While there is support for its work in funding core development, the existence of corporate sponsors have led many to question whether there is favoritism granted to select firms. Specifically, many wondered where was the Foundation as MtGox went quiet with millions of dollars of customer funds being inaccessible. In addition, calls for additional transparency have been common, with Andreas M. Antonopoulos recently referring to problems at the top of the Foundation’s leadership such as conflict of interest and it being toxic. Nonetheless, the Foundation does provide an organized body for members of the community to connect with each other and work on common goals.
In reaction to Janssens, the majority of commenters on Reddit have been supportive to Janssens initiative, but have also voiced skepticsm whether it could work. Among questions is how voting could be verified to be from actual people and not bots, while also ensuring only one vote per person. Also, being asked is whether the funds wouldn’t be better off just going towards developing innovative products that support bitcoin or are more efficient alternatives of it, as well as expected fees of the platform.