By Jon Matonis
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
I am proud to have been associated with the Bitcoin Foundation since its
launch just nine short months ago. A nonprofit organization for Bitcoin
can add greatly to the political and economic discourse for
cryptographic money and monetary freedom. As Executive Director, I
welcome the new challenge.
The Foundation has never claimed to represent all of Bitcoin nor all
of its users because that would be impossible for any organization.
Rather, the Foundation has consistently attempted to fill the gap where
market-based incentives may not have produced the same outcome, such as
in the areas of specialized grants and compensation transparency for
volunteer developers as well as legal challenges to bitcoin usage and
the sponsorship of aggressive legal defense.
For instance, we made our "cease and desist" correspondence with the
State of California publicly available which can assist bitcoin
exchanges and other bitcoin organizations in the future. Also, we intend
to file amicus briefs in significant bitcoin-related legal cases and to
offer pro bono legal defense where appropriate. In the next 30 days, we
are scheduled to submit comments to FinCEN's guidance and request for
industry feedback on rulemaking. This will be made publicly available
The Foundation is not pro-regulation as some have claimed, but it is
pro-education. I fully support across the board bitcoin education for
legislative and regulatory entities. Proper education is not anti-market
and I also agree with economist Peter Šurda who stated that lobbying on
behalf of Bitcoin is not necessarily anti-market. However, constructing
barriers to market entry and being complicit in certain crony
capitalism regulatory outcomes is anti-market. I will steadfastly oppose
a crony capitalism direction for the Bitcoin Foundation.
One of my primary near-term objectives for the Foundation is to
become more inclusive of the various constituencies within the global
bitcoin community. This will involve being more responsive to and
communicative with member requests. It will also involve being more open
to internationalization. Currently, 60% of the Foundation's membership
is non-US based and we need to do a better job behaving like a global
organization. To this end, we will hold the next Bitcoin conference
outside of the United States and we will sign on local Foundation
chapters in several countries where interested parties have taken the
lead on expanding the principles of Bitcoin in their region.
The bursting of Bitcoin technology on the scene at this time in
history is not a mere coincidence. It is a reaction to three separate
epochal developments largely emanating from the developed economies: (1)
centralized and oppressive monetary authority, (2) a dominant and
complicit legacy banking system, and (3) the eradication of financial
Future generations will not be very forgiving if the Foundation
fails in its mission to standardize and protect Bitcoin worldwide. The
youth of today, including the youth of the legislative and ruling
classes, certainly grasp this movement and the demographics clearly bear
that out. Choice in currency is the free speech of commerce.
Just as those against file sharing and BitTorrent technology were on
the wrong side of history, so too are the institutional forces opposed
to unfettered bitcoin growth. The great challenge and mandate for our
time is in encouraging them to see it that way. Please join us.
I also recorded an audio interview with Let's Talk Bitcoin shortly after accepting the Executive Director position.