The Bitcoin Foundation announced yesterday that Jon Matonis would be stepping down as Executive Director. The position would be filled by Patrick Murck who had formally worked as the Foundation’s General Counsel. The Foundation stated that a new General Counsel would soon be announced.
Matonis was one of the founding leadership of the Bitcoin Foundation, along with Mark Karpeles of Mt Gox, Gavin Andresen, and Charlie Shrem two years ago. Since that time both Charlie Shrem and Mark Karpeles left the organization to avoid any entanglement with their legal problems.
Since that time Andreas Antonopoulas also ended his relationship with the organization stating: "A couple of weeks ago, I resigned as head of the Bitcoin Foundation's anti-poverty committee. Today I also resigned as a member."
Matonis’s resignation as executive director will be effective on October 31, 2014 and his resignation as a board member will become effective on December 31, 2014. The Foundation will have an election to the board in January of 2015 with three seats being available: Jon Matonis, Gavin Andresen and Peter Vessenes. Matonis’s statement about his resignation said in part:
“Leading the Bitcoin Foundation has been a once in a lifetime opportunity. Merging the diverse interests of the Bitcoin community has been intellectually and professionally stimulating and now it’s time to pass the baton to longtime colleague Patrick Murck. I look forward to advancing Bitcoin and contributing to the community through the private sector.”
Both Murck and Peter Vessenes expressed much admiration and respect to Matonis and his contributions to both the Foundation and the Bitcoin community as a whole. Murck said in the press release this morning that:
“Jon stepped up to the plate and proactively extended Bitcoin awareness beyond the Bitcoin community, engaging industry professionals in banking, finance, economics and regulatory affairs at a time when the world looked to the Foundation for an organized voice. He also globalized the Foundation’s efforts, building a bridge on which we can build collaborative worldwide consensus for Bitcoin’s future.”
Under the leadership of Jon Matonis the Foundation was able to create a website where people could access information about the Foundation’s operations and have access to Foundation resources. He was also able to establish relationships with affiliates in numerous countries around the world and the establishment of the Financial Standards Working Group to establish XBT as the ISO currency code for Bitcoin.
He was certainly well suited for the job. Prior to his appointment to executive director he was CEO of Hushmail, Chief FX Dealer for VISA and Director of Financial Services at VeriSign and a contributor to Forbes and CoinDesk and as the editor of The Monetary Future.
Cointelegraph reached out to Perianne Boring of the Digital Chamber of Commerce, a Bitcoin lobbying group in Washington D.C. about the resignation of Matonis. Ms. Boring commented:
“With any young industry there is going to be bumps in the road. The Bitcoin Foundation is trying their hardest to promote the industry, as are we.
“As you know, there has been a lot of action coming out of Washington this week and we have organized an initiative to help educate the industry and promote the industry's agenda.”
A New Era
Murck, the new executive director was also one of the Foundation’s original founding members and is a well-known Bitcoin advocate. He has been instrumental in explaining Bitcoin to US regulators and helping set the tone for public policy that he summarized as “getting the benefits of Bitcoin while mitigating the risks.”
“Moving ahead, my first priority is to cut out distractions and focus the Bitcoin Foundation on the areas where we can add the most value for the Bitcoin community, said Murck in a follow-up press release. “That means a Bitcoin Foundation that is laser-focused on standardization through the Bitcoin core reference implementation and actively supporting the people building the critical infrastructure that powers Bitcoin.”
Murck plans to do this by taking action on two fronts. First, the new executive chairman plans to repair the relationship with the Bitcoin community. “To do that effectively we may have to take some risks around communications and transparency to show that we can be honestly engaged with the community,” said Murck.
Secondly, he hopes to set up a business model that supports the mission of the Foundation. “The key word there is business and we will run the Foundation like a business,” explained Murck. “And, as we succeed in our business we will generate more funding to support the community that powers Bitcoin.”
“Serving in a leadership role at the Bitcoin Foundation is a privilege and a challenge and there will assuredly be hard times to go with the good times. But it is my hope and the focus of my work to ensure that the Foundation fulfills its mission and plays its part in building the future.”
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