Only 20% of the potential voters are allowed to take part in the current board member election for the Bitcoin Foundation. A new rule requiring voters to 'activate' their account was missed by up to 2,182 members, leading to their ineligibility to vote.

The change in The Bitcoin Foundation's voting by-laws came about in an attempt to bypass an existing clause, which specifies that quorum in elections would only be reached when 50% of those able to vote participated.

By adding a new requirement that voters intending to take part in the board election must 'activate' their accounts prior to the poll, the Foundation was trying to solve the problem that “[i]nactive members make achieving quorum difficult for electing board members.” The only members who would count in the quorum total would be those actively participating in the run-up to the election.

In a Github post discussing the changes, the board describes their problem in the following terms:

“Currently, inactive members essentially function as members who wish all matters submitted to membership vote to fail to achieve quorum and no candidate to be successful. While such wishes must be a choice each member is free to choose, it should not be the default state assigned if no action by a member is taken.”

The ongoing election is to appoint two new members to Director positions on the board of the Foundation. Currently there are 13 potential candidates in the running for the posts, but only 364 voters were registered to take part, out of the 2,728 total members of the Foundation.

The activation process itself was a simple click-through process online, but those finding themselves unable to vote in this week's election claim there were not enough efforts made to inform them of the change.

the Chairman of the Election Committee Brian Goss

Taking to the Bitcoin Foundation's own forum to comment on the issue, the Chairman of the Election Committee Brian Goss commented upon one member's complaint about not being aware of the change:

“I'm going to file this under ‘communication disorder.’  This category will include the entire spectrum of problems that all include a member having been sent notification of an action required and the desired outcome of converting those members to active members not being achieved.”

The deadline for members to activate their accounts was February 11, and with voting already underway it appears unlikely the Foundation will stop the current ballot in order to allow more people into the process, which runs until February 19.

One interesting feature of the election is that following the resignation of Jon Matonis, and the ending of the set terms given to Gavin Andresen and Peter Vessenes, the new board will be entirely elected by the Foundation's members.

Bitcoin Foundation logo

Potential board member Cody Wilson, however, could also be one of the last to join the organization's ruling body, as his campaign is based upon the idea of disbanding the group. Creating a platform on the phrase, Wilson, the well known co-founder of Dark Wallet and Defense Distributed claims that the Foundation:

“Was always an embarrassing exercise in bad faith and state philosophy. It was always a vessel for frauds and second-rate minds to collude against the public. I invite you now to its ritual sacrifice.”

The organization was originally established in 2012 with an aim to “standardize, protect, and promote the use of Bitcoin cryptographic money for the benefit of users worldwide.”

Update February 17:

The Bitcoin Foundation has issued a revised membership number, discounting a number of previous members who have not kept up their membership dues, and thus were already ineligible to vote. The correct number of viable members to vote is 1,523 meaning that the 364 members activated to vote represent 23.9 % of the total membership. 1,159 viable members did not activate their accounts to enable voting.


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