Bitcoin Foundation Scraps Elections, Seeks “New, Unified Board”

The struggling Bitcoin Foundation, now battling for its very survival, plans to appoint new board members without the election process.

The struggling Bitcoin Foundation, now battling for its very survival, plans to appoint new board members without the election process.

The Foundation’s latest troubles include it being close to running out of money and the departure of two board members due to rancorous disagreement. Jim Harper recently resigned and Olivier Janssens was dismissed. Both have pushed for the Foundation to be disbanded, arguing that it has no concrete plans.

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The departures leave only four board seats filled, one short of the requisite five according to Foundation bylaws. In a forum article, Executive Director Bruce Fenton says that an election to fill the vacancies will consume excessive time and effort given the Foundation’s current priorities and resources.

Instead, interim directors will be appointed without an election, which is in accordance with bylaws. The new board will then vote on how to fill the vacated seats and those expiring in the near future. They will propose to amend bylaws such that the vacated seats can be appointed via “special referendum” instead of an election.

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The second reason stated for the move is the real eye-opener. Fenton acknowledges the potential benefits of spirited discussion, debate and alternate opinions, but “fundamental and long standing disagreements and conflict can be counter-productive.”

Therefore, the existing board will essentially pick those who share their vision. “The new, unified board will be productive and efficient,” said Fenton.

A meeting for adding new board member classes and appointing interim board members is anticipated for Tuesday.

In response, Jim Harper says Fenton’s article is a good example of the Foundation’s lack of direction. “The current board’s unity doesn’t mean a lot because the only point of agreement is wanting the organization to exist, not any purpose or plan,” he writes.

The plan has shades of “runaway board”, he argues, and will give potential funders yet another reason to be wary of the Foundation.

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