Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors of The Bitcoin Foundation
Held: August 25, 2015
Elizabeth McCauley (formerly Ploshay)
Bruce Fenton-Executive Director
Amy Loughran-Dolan-Director of Operations
Call to Order and Introductions
Brock Pierce, Chair called the meeting to order at 11:05 AM. We will proceed without Micky Malka, who is absent. We are moving forward with an approved agenda
Documents Distributed for the Meeting:
Jody Tief emailed the July financials, as reviewed by Bruce.
Amy Loughran-Dolan emailed the membership data.. There are currently 1449 Active Members, 95 Industry Members.
Approval of Minutes
On motion made by Brock, seconded by Bobby, and carried, the board approved the previously distributed minutes of the meeting of the board held 6/16/2015.
Bruce has reviewed them and has nothing to add
Brock reviews. He asks Bruce is the membership function on the website is working.
Bruce says membership is working, and has been working. The website is being migrated to a new server today, but it will be operational at the end of migration.
Brock notes, that we should all work as a board to sign people up.
Bruce points out that the larger payments for corporate memberships have historically been done manually and invoiced.
Bruce says DevCore will take place October 16, 2015. The location is Draper University. Jeff Garzik, Gavin Andressen, and others have agreed to speak. Bruce is also talking to some other prominent people. Michael Perklin, will do the certification program again. There hasn’t been a Dev Core Program in the Bay Area before.
Brock wants to know what the plan is in terms of frequency of DevCore events. Also, are there any thoughts re: timing?
Bruce says he would like to see a few a year, maybe one in Europe or Asia. We’ll see how this one goes. Certainly, more than one per year. We are probably looking at first quarter 2016 for the next one because the main focus needs to be on planning an annual meeting for this calendar year.
Brock and Bruce discussed the explained that we may have harmed one of our sponsors for DevCore because of board member posts by Olivier.
Greg Maxwell, a potential speaker specifically mentioned these posts and had the impression that they were speaking on behalf of the foundation.
Olivier, in the future, intends to express his opinion and divulge he is not a representative of the foundation, whether his opinion is positive or negative.
Brock says going forward, all board members should please state that your opinions do not reflect those of the foundation.
Jim feels that we need more communication. He didn’t know exactly who the sponsors were and suspects other board members were in the same position.
Brock and Bruce say Blockstream as a sponsor was previously mentioned in other board meetings.
Jim says he didn’t know about it. we should see this as an opportunity to improve communication.
Olivier says he also didn’t know or remember. It wasn’t his intent to harm a key relationship of the foundation. If he had known, he would have said he was speaking on his own behalf. He will keep the foundation out of his opinions going forward
Bruce wants to have it at Harvard, it will be smaller this year. There is a very distinguished alumni helping, Mitchell Dong. If we wait until January, we would have more flexibility on the space. Some may grumble because it isn’t in the calendar year. Bruce doesn’t think it’s a bad idea. The cost is prohibitive if we go to a hotel or conference venue. Does anyone have any thoughts?
Brock states that if anyone wants to volunteer to become sort of a working group, we could form a committee…Feel free to volunteer your time. Brock is happy to help-out. Have you spoken to Patrick?
Bruce says he has reached out to Patrick.
Elizabeth says we can discuss when in Boston next week
Bobby would like to schedule a call with Bruce to help, as well
Brock wants to note that although we have a monthly meeting, board members should keep communication open amongst themselves.
Upcoming board seats:
Elizabeth and Micky board seats both available as of Jan 1. Elizabeth taking the lead on the email communication.
Elizabeth sent out a proposed election schedule. She will re-forward her email to the board.
Brock says giving prospective Board meetings advance notice is important. We want to get this announced prior to the next board mtg.
Bruce says Brian Goss has volunteered to run the elections again. He had a difficult job, with the technology and change in voting system and did a good job with it. Last time there were two different systems for the voting. We’ll use the one that worked, we will not experiment at this stage. The timeframe, as outlined by Elizabeth works. Brian suggests to spread communication so that we get good candidates for the seat.
Jim would like to know if we anticipate having a website soon?
Bruce says yes, the donations portion of the site is fixed. The overall site is down because we had to scrap the old server. They are migrating, as we speak
Brock has connected Bruce with a IT person who has experience with specific issues with the old website.
Bitcoin fork / block size debate:
Brock explains the foundation has not formally participated in the block size debate. The foundation should have a stand because it has a significant impact on our industry. To external viewers it looks like the decentralized construct is failing. External people not close to the situation perceive it this way.
Olivier says he feels the decentralized system is working, and working well and he respects Gavin for saying there’s another way, to create a different version. It is his opinion that healthy debate is the only way out and there will be a solution found soon.
Jim is largely in agreement with Olivier. This is an important juncture in the development process because there is disagreement instead of consensus and the outcome will be a new consensus. His communication though Cato has been to talk about the debate itself in reassuring ways. This should bring everyone together on a new plan on the block size.
Brock agrees with Olivier and Jim; Media has been making the debate seem negative. The Foundation’s position should be as stated. Healthy disagreements and discussions will lead to the best outcome. He wants the message to be that we support consensus building and discussion. This is what builds bitcoin.
Olivier agrees that we should encourage and support open debate as much as possible.
Bruce is in agreement with Olivier. His position is in line with what bitcoin is supposed to stand for and represent.. Perhaps we make a statement to that effect. We could do a membership email. Bruce asks Olivier to state his position in an email to him personally.
Brock asks Bruce to create a google doc. Bruce can draft it, and the other members can edit accordingly.
Brock states that we should announce DevCore this week. We need to be visual and let people know what we’re working on.
Bobby asks if we have a focus area for DevCore that follows the scaling bitcoin debate? What is our role?
Bruce says the main focus of DevCore is development. Highly technical. Not CEO’s, not investors. Only highly technical people. The tagline is “Developing the Developers”.
Brock thinks scaling bitcoin is a missed opportunity, we should have organized something like it. He thinks when there are these types of debates in the future, we can be the organization that tries to bring everyone to the table. We should try and step in, to pull people together so consensus can form.
Olivier thinks it will be hard to be viewed as neutral.
Bruce says we have issues with neutrality, we are old and established with a wide variety of members and we can use our diversity to display neutrality. If you look at the top 10 people on both sides of the debate, you will see that many of them are members. We don’t want to drive away certain people, we want to embrace people on all sides of the debate.
Brock says you can avoid participating in the discussion or you can be involved by encouraging debate in a healthy and instructive environment.
Jim says Bruce mentions the large membership as an asset but he believes we need to do things to serve the members. including the individual members. As we add on components, something that serves individual membership.
Olivier’s discussion of the future of the Foundation:
Brock asks is Olivier is asking if we should shut the foundation down. Brock believes we have 3-6 months to prove that we can make a difference. Bruce’s opinion is one we need to hear.
Bruce sent a note about financials to the board and included a discussion about his injuries from a car accident. His injuries have made things difficult, he’s not doing travel, meetings, and is limited on other activities. He’s getting better and his doctor assures him he’ll recover and it’s not permanent. Bruce doesn’t think there is a great alternative or solution. Bruce says he could volunteer to step down, or says he would be willing to take a lesser role, or leave of absence based upon his injury. Bruce said he is also working to bring in non-board members or board members to help. Bruce agrees it’s worth pushing forward. He’s going to continue to be frank and open about his medical condition due to the car accident. He’s spent more time on foundation work as a volunteer recently than his paid work.
Brock recognizes Bruce is not being paid and is putting a lot of time into this role. He’s grateful.
Brock says a solution could be to create assistant Executive Director. If anyone thinks they want to step in and do that, please step forward.
Bruce agrees that would be helpful.
Brock wants to know, does anyone support shutting the foundation down?
Jim says that Olivier should make his case for shutting it down.
Olivier doesn’t like the idea of having a separate executive session. He thinks BIP opinions should be on the table. He proposed shutting down the foundation because of financial status and the image in the media that we are the voice of bitcoin. It’s not healthy that bitcoin has a single target to attack. He likes how the blocksize debate is resolving itself in the community without a central governing entity. As long as we are perceived as representing Bitcoin, anytime something bad happens, a board member could express an opinion and a media member would use it as a representative of Bitcoin itself. Olivier is not proposing shutting down the foundation, it was a reaction to lack of momentum.
Brock says there’s not much we can do about media perception but we do want to promote broad decentralization.
Brock adjourns the meeting at 12:00 PM.