Dilemma within the Bitcoin Foundation: What now after Janssens’ revelation?

Last April 4, 2015, the credibility and stability of the Bitcoin Foundation have both been put to test after one of its newest board members claimed that the institution is bankrupt.

Olivier Janssens recently revealed that the electronic currency advocacy group has no money left and that around 90% of its personnel has already been fired. He likewise challenged the integrity of its leadership team which he claimed is mainly focusing on centralizing control over the core development of bitcoin’s freeware.

The Bitcoin Foundation’s executive board right away dismissed the allegations. It however admitted that they’re currently on rough waters due in part to the diminishing value of bitcoin. It said that most of its assets are in bitcoins, thus it has drastically affected the overall status of the foundation. On why it has not diversified its assets, that’s another question that needs to be answered. It can be remembered that the digital currency’s value reached as high as $1,145 by November 2013, but has since then fallen significantly. Currently, its value is around $254 only.  Moreover, the executive board stated that most of their members have left willingly and have instead offered to work as volunteers. Even Patrick Murck, the organization’s executive director, has offered to work voluntarily or without pay.

Janssens has been elected to the board just last February this year. In that short span of time, obviously, he’s not pleased by the way the organization is managed and to where it’s currently headed to. In fact, he urged members to vote for the dissolution of the group which he alleged is working in secrecy.

Gavin Andresen, Bitcoin Foundation’s chief scientist and one of its original board members, claimed that the financial difficulties faced by their organization are not solely caused by the devaluation of bitcoin. He noted that several of their planned projects never materialized due also to shrinking member profits. Membership was negatively affected after two of its board members were involved in separate high-profile issues involving bitcoin. Charlie Shrem was imprisoned for money laundering and for his participation in the infamous Silk Road underground online market. Meanwhile, Mark Karpeles resigned after failing to save the now defunct Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange.

Founded in Washington D.C., USA in September 2012, the Bitcoin Foundation was expected to standardize, protect, and promote the use of bitcoin. At the end of 2013, it began several projects which were then eventually dropped due to financial constraints.

Janssen was also not the first person to criticize the foundation’s leadership. The organization also got negative views from the media after some questionable appointments and inappropriate business ties by some of its members.

Indeed, this is a difficult moment for the entire bitcoin community who surely had high expectations from the Bitcoin Foundation. If there’s a need to revamp the organization, then the board would need to act quickly. Hopefully, it won’t still be too late to pick up the pieces and start all over again. After all, it’s not how many times you fall that’s important. Rather, it’s the number of times you stood up and continued fighting.

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