Minutes of The Bitcoin Foundation Board Meeting held on August 21, 2018
Llew Claasen (Executive Director)
Brock Pierce (Chairman)
Approval of the agenda
The agenda for the meeting was approved by the Board.
Approval of the minutes
The minutes of the meeting held on July 17, 2018 were approved by all present.
Financial update – July 2018
- July revenue includes Membership contributions of $826 and $4,000 from speaking fees for Distributed in Greece during November 2018. There were 10 new members.
- The Foundation received a donation of $100,000 from Brock Pierce with a commitment of a further $100,000 from Vinny Lingham/Civic once the Civic marketplace goes live.
- Operating expenses for the period were $4,954 before forex gains & losses of $10,341, which included an unrealized gain in BTC of $745 and an unrealized loss in ETH of $11,086. Fees of $739 were incurred relating to the end of life of the forums & previously unbilled fees for monthly WordPress & hosting maintenance.
- Total cash and crypto on hand on July 31 2018 of $80 897, including $7,688 in USD.
Operational update – July 2018
Llew had originally intended to request that the board of directors approve a revised budget associated with the $100k donation from Brock. Unfortunately the ETH donation from Brock has reduced by 40% because the sudden drop in the price of Ether. Llew suggested that the current price of Ether likely doesn’t represent its future price, it was just unfortunate that the price fell dramatically almost immediately after the Foundation received it. Llew asked the board of directors for some leniency on the budget due to these ETH price movements. The Foundation will focus its attention and programs on PR, education and setting up local chapters in Canada, Australia and possibly Amsterdam. Our approach would be to support local groups operating on these markets that have requested our support, so that our own structure is decentralized units that we support but don’t control.
The major focus for the upcoming programs was on PR to raise awareness of the programs the Foundation is doing. The Foundation is making use of a PR consultant from Newtown Partners on a part-time basis who will be able to use a PR tracking and engagement tool called Meltwater to identify PR opportunities, create awareness of the work the Foundation is doing and track progress.
There are up to 3 available seats for incoming Board members. The most recent board terms of reference are being used to update the Foundation bylaws so that the board is structured with 5 elected board members and 3 strategic members, excluding the seat of the Executive Director. This structure means that there will be no need for an election for the strategic appointments but rather that the current board of directors should have a discussion around first filling the 3 strategic appointments and then after that have 2 cycles of elections, possibly in the next 6, 12 or 18 months. The board agreed that the board would first make the 3 strategic board appointments and thereafter schedule two sets of elections to make available the current elected board member seats in staggered elections during the next 6-18 months, in order to provide stability and continuity.
Bruce had been attending to a family medical issue in the last month, but the nominations committee is expected to present a final list of candidates to the board by the next meeting. If any board of directors members have a candidate they would want to send to the nomination committee, they are welcome to do so.
Llew spoke with Thomas Pillsworth, the original Bitcoin miner whose plight was first raised in Forbes coverage of the Plattsburg, NY cryptocurrency mining moratorium. This followed the Foundations attempts to make contact with miners in New York state affected by the moratoriums. It turns out that Thomas is a long-time member of the Foundation and replied to our member newsletter on our third attempt at outreach.
It appeared that Plattsburg, NY did not have a good plan for their electricity consumption and were caught unprepared with the massive electricity demand, which raised tariffs that had to be passed onto consumers. The moratorium was an attempt to step things back until a sustainable position could be achieved. The major of the town doesn’t appear to be anti-bitcoin – there is a small mining rig inside the mayor’s office now!
Thomas believes that they have come a long way to get the town to accept the value of cryptocurrency mining operations in the town, especially its ability to create new jobs in remote areas. A draft mining bill has been circulated for comment, with a view to lift the moratorium. Thomas asked that instead of taking a litigious approach, that the Foundation rather get in touch with law makers in New York state and the town and educate them around the benefits of being pro-cryptocurrency mining in upstate New York.
Llew’s trip to Malaysia
Llew was recently in Malaysia to speak at BLOCONOMIC on behalf of the Foundation. Llew has realised that the cryptocurrency and blockchain communities in Europe & Asia are very excited to have the Foundation involved in their local ecosystems. Llew will be spending more time participating and supporting those communities as there is no legacy hostility towards the Foundation, compared to the USA.
Llew met with Daniele Monteleone of Bitcoin Private, which is a post Segwit fork of BTC. A project of that type would normally likely have been considered another bitcoin fork scam, but surprisingly they have come along way and have made progress in rebasing the code and integrating ZK-snarks. There was no hostility towards the Foundation from the Bitcoin Private team and they were interested in ways the Foundation can help them. Llew feels that this is an earnest engineer-driven project and the Foundation should explore ways to support them. They could also be a source of the funding for the Foundation programs, since they do not have any Foundation structure. Llew agreed to do some more due diligence on the project before the Foundation took a final position.
Vinny asked if it were possible to have a franchise model in a form of a chapter model, so that the Foundation could hire people in the different countries to run the local chapters, to support the cause. This could go some way towards building the good name of the Foundation
Llew felt that there are 2 approaches available to the Foundation – a local chapter model, where there is existing interest in Canada, Australia and Amsterdam, where the Foundation would not set up the chapter, but rather look for local groups that we can assist with education materials, speakers, process or possibly some funding. It’s more of an opportunity for advocacy and influencing legislation and regulation in that area. This approach would be very decentralized, all the Foundation would be doing is empowering people that are already doing the work.
Secondly, another approach would be to have a chapter that supports a specific project, such as might be the case for Bitcoin Private. Vinny suggested that the Foundation should on a global level be supporting chapters, not projects within local chapters. Llew agreed that these projects are global in nature, for instance an Italian chapter might be focused Italy, but not all contributors to a specific Bitcoin implementation would be in Italy
Vinny suggested that the Foundation might also have chapters that just support sponsored projects. The challenge would come when these projects are once off and create a short-term drain on Foundation resources. It may make most sense to create a local chapter model with local Bitcoin Foundation representation, where the local chapters could sponsor local projects that are not once off. Llew offered that the downside was that no-one had come up to say they want to run a local chapter of the Foundation itself and Vinny agreed that the idea be paused for now.
Michael wants to know the contact in Canada for the local chapter. Llew will come back with his name. There was previously a discussion around working with Francis and the Bitcoin Alliance of Canada.
Llew met Rafael Schultz who runs an advocacy organisation funded by Dash in Europe. They’re called The Dash Embassy DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and he is interested in working on cryptocurrency advocacy in those markets with the Foundation. The board agreed that Llew could investigate this further.
Taiwan legislator Wan-Ju Yu
Llew met a Taiwanese legislator, Wan-Ju Yu to discuss the advocacy work of the Foundation. She was excited to hear that the Foundation was the original cryptocurrency advocacy organisation and suggested that they have a follow-on conversation that could have Llew visit to speak to other Taiwanese legislators about cryptocurrencies.
There being no further items to discuss, the meeting was adjourned.