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Foundation moving to the UK?


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#1 Joel Dalais

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Posted 02 March 2014 - 07:25 PM

urm, hello??

It would be nice to hear about this stuff before reading on Reddit and seeing the announcements via newspapers ...

http://en.reddit.com...ap_bitcoin_tax/

"The Bitcoin Foundation ... told the Financial Times it would redomicile to the UK this spring"

"...is searching for staff and office space in London, according to board executive director Jon Matonis."


So ... ye .. more communication to the paying members is good ...

Would be very nice to know whats happening around these parts, as you know I've been quietly busy trying to get on with stuff (in the UK), putting in the time and effort, communication really does help.

#2 Brad Wheeler

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 02:21 AM

Here's my question - does relocating offices have any practical impact on the corporation?

#3 David R Allen

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 04:35 AM

View PostBrad Wheeler, on 03 March 2014 - 02:21 AM, said:

Here's my question - does relocating offices have any practical impact on the corporation?

Let's go one step further.
Does making announcements in the press about the foundation, just before a bi-election for an industry seat remain the responsibility of the board, or is this simply the Executive Director testing the waters?

#4 Bob Derber

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 04:35 AM

Brad:

I suggest relocation of the Foundation to London in a few months will have significant impact, especially as the media reports Jon is already hiring staff there.  Odd that Joel, a Law & Policy Comm. member living in London, would not be fully aware of the details, but he is not.

There was an international expansion announcement last Dec.  It was an 'initiative' of the foundation and a Dec. statement by Elizabeth in Bitcoin Magazine was how I found out about it.  It did not say the Foundation was relocating to the UK as does the current Financial Times article.

People are quite edgy given the Gox matter.  I think a direct answer to Joel and elaboration on the relocation would be appreciated and appropriate.  If you do not know, might you ask another person at the Foundation to provide some more info?

Thanks.

bob

#5 Brad Wheeler

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 05:40 AM

I'll take this opportunity to clarify - I'm the (volunteer) forum moderator around here. I'm not paid and I rarely know information about the Foundation outside of the discussions here in this forum. I only chimed in on the discussion because I had a simple question to contribute to this thread.

These forums are visited by board members and executive staff who have the most information and make the decisions that matter. I will ask around, but trust that anything important will be disclosed through official channels (blog / board meeting minutes / newsletter).

I will say that it is disheartening when members regularly feel like they are the last to know about important decisions within their organization, particularly with transparency becoming an organizational tenet. While this may be unintentional, it resonates throughout the community. More of a focus on "member relations" should be a priority for the leadership and I'm happy to brainstorm ways to make this more achievable.

#6 Bob Derber

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 06:27 AM

Thanks Brad.... and thanks for your work.  +1

#7 Dan Plante

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 07:39 AM

+2 for your opinions Brad, and thanks for all your hard work here, and putting up with our histrionics.

I guess we'll see where it goes from here, but if there is any truth to it I'd be amazed; the UK is probably the very last place I'd relocate to.

#8 Joel Dalais

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 09:00 AM

View PostBrad Wheeler, on 03 March 2014 - 02:21 AM, said:

Here's my question - does relocating offices have any practical impact on the corporation?

I was thinking about this today. Technically, no difference. Practically, probably a lot of difference.

The Financial Authorities in the UK are far easier to approach (FCA, HMRC, HM Treasury), and some of us have already been at work with them (I started early last year and I know of others who are also in talks with HM Treasury 'high-ups'). The laws (statutes) are more favourable here, quite a lot more. Various bodies have certain 'umbrella' powers, but you're not going to get HMRC (or FCA) creating laws out of whim (you might get some of them making mistakes, but certains ones of us are less likely to bend).

I'd say there's also some very pro-ministers, and next year is election year and I have a feeling that economic freedom will be a significant topic for relevant political parties. I'm not for any particular party, but UKIP will be making significant strides, and Nigel Farage is very approachable (met him a couple of times, good bloke). Though its Labours turn to take the seat, there's definitely uncertainty about whether this will happen this time (2015).

Back to the relevant authorities. FCA is actually rather pro-bitcoin, I'd like to say they're fascinated by it, but can't say that 100%, just the ones I've discussed it with. HMRC are a much bigger office, hence why some of their staff are uneducated about bitcoin (yet), HM Treasury know full well about it, they're very aware that to regulate bitcoin would involve creating new statutes/laws, or amending current ones (I've been told it will happen, when its time).

The essential 'feel' is that the government side of it want to leave it be and let it grow on its own, and also the fact that most of our current laws and regulations are sufficient, and there's only 1 Exchange resident and working within the UK (ibwt, the other btc sellers in the UK are brokers or vendors, bit121 is an exchange, but recently stopped deposits (bank closure), so they don't count at the moment in my book) and its not very cost effective creating regulations for such a (currently) small industry. Which coincidentally enough turns out we're the only Exchange in the world that deals with GBP.

Also, being in London, you don't have to fly all over the place to meet regulators and government officials ;) thats a massive cost savings right there.

I have a lot more confidence that UK officials (that don't understand bitcoin, yet) can be approached easier and the subject explained.

Do not approach the Bank of England. When banks here accept crypto, it will be foreign banks first.

All that said, would be nice to get a confirmation from the Board. And must add, always appreciative of your input Brad.

p.s. I live in Plymouth, re-locating to Bristol/London upon ibwt growth.

#9 David R Allen

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 03:43 PM

This was just sent to me as a PM by a staff member.


We announced the opening of our UK office last December via press release. It was picked up by a few news sources -- I believe NYT, Politico, Coindesk and the Verge were amongst those that reported on it. :)

#10 Jinyoung Englund

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 03:43 PM

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to clarify that Bob is correct in that we announced the opening of our London office last December. It was via press release and a few publications such as Politico, NYT, CoinDesk and the Verge picked up on it.

You are all also correct in that membership communications can be improved. I thought we had also published a forum post, but I see now that we didn't. My sincerest apologies. We are working on improving and setting in place the people and processes needed. Thank you for your patience and support.

#11 David R Allen

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 03:52 PM

Who is Bob?

And really, it isn't for a lack of people that want to help. Can we at least get a communication committee of volunteers organized to avoid these mistakes?
Aside from running for whatever seats are available, I would be happy to head up the committee.

And this might explain the problem a bit better...

David,

My sincerest apologies. I thought we had posted a forum post but I see now that we had not. It was not our intention at all to not inform our members.

We are working on getting the people and processes we need to ensure important announcements like these are put out in conjunction with our external communications. :)

I hope that we have been doing a better job since Dec -- it's a work in progress!

Jinyoung


View PostJinyoung Englund, on 03 March 2014 - 03:43 PM, said:

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to clarify that Bob is correct in that we announced the opening of our London office last December. It was via press release and a few publications such as Politico, NYT, CoinDesk and the Verge picked up on it.

You are all also correct in that membership communications can be improved. I thought we had also published a forum post, but I see now that we didn't. My sincerest apologies. We are working on improving and setting in place the people and processes needed. Thank you for your patience and support.


#12 Brian Goss

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 04:01 PM

@David: Bob Derber, see above.

#13 Brad Wheeler

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 04:31 PM

View PostJinyoung Englund, on 03 March 2014 - 03:43 PM, said:

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to clarify that Bob is correct in that we announced the opening of our London office last December. It was via press release and a few publications such as Politico, NYT, CoinDesk and the Verge picked up on it.

You are all also correct in that membership communications can be improved. I thought we had also published a forum post, but I see now that we didn't. My sincerest apologies. We are working on improving and setting in place the people and processes needed. Thank you for your patience and support.

Thanks for pointing this out, Jinyoung. This is reassuring!

#14 David R Allen

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 04:54 PM

Really?

Bob was correct that there was an announcement last December, however it DID NOT say the Bitcoin Foundation was relocating to England.

From Elizabeth's article...

Read slowly.... No indication of closing the head office in Washington DC.

On the tails of the LaBitConf, the first ever Latin American Bitcoin Conference, the Bitcoin Foundation announced the full launch of the International Affiliate Program to foster further development of Bitcoin communities around the world. In addition to opening up an international office in the United Kingdom, the Bitcoin Foundation also took the Bitcoin Association of Australia and the Bitcoin Foundation Canada on as the first two affiliates. The Bitcoin Foundation issued the below press release.

Bitcoin Foundation’s International Affiliate Program ramps up for 2014

Opens international office in the United Kingdom

“Bitcoin is an open source protocol with a global presence. We are experiencing rapid adoption worldwide and are excited to welcome Bitcoin Association of Australia and Bitcoin Foundation Canada as our first two affiliate chapters. In addition, we are engaged in talks with India and Argentina and have received strong interest for collaboration from countries like China, Germany and the Netherlands,” said Jon Matonis. Jon Matonis said, “Strengthening and equipping local Bitcoin communities worldwide is at the core of the foundation’s International Affiliate Program and a priority for 2014. London is one of the most international cities in the world and the foundation will be best positioned to fulfillment of its mission to protect, standardize, and promote the use of Bitcoin worldwide.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 12, 2013) – The Bitcoin Foundation announced the launch of its International Affiliate Program today, a commitment to empower local Bitcoin communities around the world, with the opening of its London office, led by Jon Matonis, Executive Director. ”It is with great pride and excitement that the Bitcoin Embassy announces that it will host the Bitcoin Foundation’s Canadian chapter. Considering how similar our respective missions are, this is a logical collaborative and strategic partnership. We look forward to pooling our resources and ideas to continue promoting and supporting Bitcoin in Canada,” commented Guillaume Babin-Tremblay, Executive Director, Bitcoin Embassy. Since its founding, the foundation’s membership has grown to over 1,000 members with over 50% from outside the United States. This support has enabled the foundation to build a model infrastructure as well as finance teams and initiatives crucial to Bitcoin’s adoption, all in represent and support the inherently global Bitcoin community from there.”

In the rapidly evolving world of new technology and startups, being the first to execute is key. The London office will provide strategic support as well as a “turnkey operation” and “organizational toolbelt” for countries to quickly and seamlessly establish the necessary infrastructure, credibility, and presence to lead localized educational, media, and outreach efforts. Each affiliate will be governed, led, and managed locally by its own board of directors and team while benefiting from the collaborative relationship and shared resources, connections and support from Bitcoin Foundation’s international office.

“Initiatives like the Bitcoin Foundation’s International Affiliate Program help Bitcoin to expand across the globe at the grassroots level,” said Shakil Khan, founder of CoinDesk, angel investor, and personal advisor to Spotify’s CEO.

Jason Williams, President of Bitcoin Association of Australia’s Board of Directors, agreed, “We share a common goal – the adoption of Bitcoin worldwide. This unification of world-class teams across continents, working in a coordinated and collaborative effort, best positions Bitcoin for success.”

In addition to an international team of core developers, public affairs professionals, and attorneys, the foundation supports a robust quarterly grant program that supports projects that strengthen the core infrastructure in a way that is broadly helpful if not always commercially viable such as Coinpunk. The foundation also provides sponsorship of talented individual developers such as Addy Yeow, creator of Bitnodes,and it hosts the annual Bitcoin conference in different regions of the world. Bitcoin 2014 will be hosted in Amsterdam and

the foundation is a proud sponsor of the International Financial Cryptography Association’s First Bitcoin Technical Workshop held in Barbados next March. The foundation will maintain its U.S. office in Washington, D.C. to focus on U.S. individual and corporate membership, public policy and public relations.

Bitcoin Foundation’s UK office is located in London’s city centre with close proximity to leading financial companies and media outlets.

Follow us at @BTCFoundation for the latest!

about: The Bitcoin Foundation is a member-driven non-profit organization dedicated to serving the business, technology, government relations, and public affairs needs of the Bitcoin community. The foundation works to protect and standardize the Bitcoin protocol and software, to broaden the use of Bitcoin through public education and by fostering a safe and sane legal and regulatory environment, and to support local Bitcoin efforts by connecting a network of Bitcoin communities worldwide. Think Globally, Act Locally. Join us!


#15 Bob Derber

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 07:26 PM

Hello David!  We've met on the net.  My daughter is the atty. in your fair city of Vancouver who I am pushing hard to get in touch with you.  I am, with Alex Marcos, the current Tax Working Group (as I am a tax atty/cpa).  My general background is pretty stale - I was the GC of Maxis Software - we did SimCity, went public and I have pandered off this bit of luck for the last 20 years.

The suggestion that the Foundation is moving to London was reported in Financial Times yesterday and sourced to Jon.  I did not mean to confuse that this was part of the 12/2013 release.

Hi and Thanks Jinyong....  We've not met but just to clear some confusion - are you in Washington State or WA DC.  I thought you were with CoinLab....

Also, are you replacing Lindsay?  And finally - welcome aboard!  There are good rumors afloat about you!  Aside from PR/Com. - will you deal with internal and Committee communications?

Let me try to get us back onto Joel's topic.  I ditto his call for better communication.  One seems to 'know' what's up if you are an 'insider' of sorts.  I have more than once tripped over matters where I acted not knowing what the Foundation was doing or, for that matter, what our position was, if any.  Easily corrected if the will is there (and a shout-out to Marco Santori who seems to have sensed this issue and is doing his part as Committee Chair).

I am sad that we don't disclose board agendas, minutes or resolutions and somehow determined they needed to be kept from the Foundation Members for six months.  I have never seen this before, other than 'private session' matters such as contract negotiation, employment/hr and litigation.  Personally, under DC law, I am not sure we can do this (we are currently a District of Columbia nonprofit corporation - categorized for tax purposes as a 501©(6) I believe).  What say you, David.  As I recall you are running for a board seat.  Should the foundation not post this info to the extend any member could request legaly-enforcable access to it..... and you, my MD friend Brian - has the Rochester contingency rethought this issue (I don't chime in regularly, Mr. Goss, but I am really glad you are there and active on the Ed side....)?

Possibly the issues are reflected right here in this forum.  Over the past month or so (I clicked on the 'view new content' for  4 pages - which covered Feb. 8 to today), only 38 people posted here.  That's a canary in a coal mine to me that we have much to do to be the go-to for information, dialogue and leadership on btc.   Reddit bitcoin/r had more traffic in the last hour - but then the Gox story has everyone looking for info.  

The point is, IMO we need to start being visibly relevant to the btc community.  I look forward to the new site, and to your presence, Jinyoug, to see that we can get there.  I am also quite willing to help.

#16 Joel Dalais

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Posted 03 March 2014 - 08:50 PM

Its not a problem gathering volunteers and training them, I expect quite a few people here are capable of such a lead role. The problem is getting the 'go ahead' and when things are getting done, the 'go ahead' on those things.

There seems to be a lack of communication from the top down to setup better communication..

>I thought we had also published a forum post, but I see now that we didn't.

Unfortunately emphasis's my point. Not much point in the community/members doing anything if all they're going to be doing is twiddling their fingers after..

#17 Christopher Eli Wilmer

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 10:49 AM

View PostJinyoung Englund, on 03 March 2014 - 03:43 PM, said:

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to clarify that Bob is correct in that we announced the opening of our London office last December. It was via press release and a few publications such as Politico, NYT, CoinDesk and the Verge picked up on it.

You are all also correct in that membership communications can be improved. I thought we had also published a forum post, but I see now that we didn't. My sincerest apologies. We are working on improving and setting in place the people and processes needed. Thank you for your patience and support.

Ah, so is it just a misunderstanding then that the Bitcoin Foundation is "relocating" to the UK? It's just, in fact, a UK chapter opening up?

#18 Joel Dalais

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 10:53 AM

View PostChristopher Eli Wilmer, on 04 March 2014 - 10:49 AM, said:

Ah, so is it just a misunderstanding then that the Bitcoin Foundation is "relocating" to the UK? It's just, in fact, a UK chapter opening up?

http://www.coindesk....ight-uk-office/

#19 Dariy Margaritov

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Posted 04 March 2014 - 08:26 PM

View PostBob Derber, on 03 March 2014 - 07:26 PM, said:

The point is, IMO we need to start being visibly relevant to the btc community.

Very well put. I became active on this forum just very recently, but I can also see and feel it is lacking relevancy. In my opinion the Bitcoin Foundation forum must represent different views of the thought leaders, core developers and entrepreneurs in the bitcoin eco-system on the important daily developments. Be it business, legal or protocol related, this forum must be the go to place whenever someone wants to discover valuable information regarding bitcoin.

#20 Gavin Andresen

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 12:56 AM

View PostDavid Allen, on 03 March 2014 - 04:54 PM, said:

Read slowly.... No indication of closing the head office in Washington DC.

We don't have a "head office" in Washington, DC.  The Foundation has been mostly a virtual organization, with staff in lots of places.

Unless they've been keeping secrets from me and just don't want me to visit.