While Cointelegraph is at Bitcoin2014 in Amsterdam, the conference is being overshadowed by controversy in the upper echelons of the Bitcoin Foundation.
News of investor and former child actor Brock Pierce’s selection as a new director produced negative reactions from many incumbent members, with news of resignations and outrage coming daily.
“The track record of prominent Bitcoin Foundation members has been abysmal,” said Patrick Alexander, one resigning Foundation member, Reuters reports, “I no longer want to be associated with these people.”
While many have been quick to condemn the week’s events as the Bitcoin Foundation’s first major scandal, it is worth noting that Pierce has not done anything to specifically disqualify himself from potentially holding the position, and that his involvement in Bitcoin prior to news of his appointment has also been significant.
For example, he is an advisor to newly founded Coin Congress, whose first conference event is scheduled for next week in Singapore, and has invested in over a dozen Bitcoin startups.
When the dust settles, it will be interesting to understand why the controversy surrounding Pierce escalated to its current level, as well as to view its implications for both the foundation and Pierce himself.
New practices are already being mooted by remaining foundation members, such as ‘vetting’ of candidates prior to their ascent to major positions.
“If in the future members decide they want to have a vetting process, that's great,” General Counsel Patrick Murck said, commenting that his group still had over 1,500 members and would “bounce back,” according to Reuters.
“Democracy is messy sometimes,” he added.
At the same time, the organization is coming under general criticism across the board. In terms of public relations, IDG Ventures investor Phil Sanderson said that “Bitcoin hasn't really had a strong, vocal leader with a great background,” and that Bitcoin’s growth was being stymied as a result.
The Internet community has also been vocal about the news, with a popular Reddit comment specifically criticizing Pierce’s lack of public appearances since the controversy began. “It's one thing to not step down (after all, you were apparently elected by actual paying members),” user u/ikmoikmo wrote, “but you can't sit in silence.”
In the meantime, the annual conference in Amsterdam has so far been a success, with events such as the First Annual Blockchain Awards focusing attention on achievement in the Bitcoin space.
Cointelegraph will follow developments at the foundation and report back over the coming days, as well as provide some interesting interviews from various faces at Bitcoin2014.