Below is a similar update to one I sent by email to the board this week.
I’ve removed some information about pending partnerships, discussions with members and deals as well as discussions about personnel and compensation.
I’ve changed some wording to make it better formatted for public viewing.
Members of the Board:
(Please read this long email – I won’t always send long detailed updates but it’s been a busy week and I want to give you an idea of how we are moving and thinking. I also want to collaborate and get ideas and input as much as possible.)
TRANSITION / MURCK/ BRADY
Met with Patrick Murck and former Ops director Jody Brady for several hours while in Seattle to discuss transition items.
I spoke with Gavin about his Chief Scientist role: it’s great he is staying on as Chief Scientist and we will work together to find the best ways to have this role be as effective as possible for everyone as the foundation moves forward in a new chapter.
I appointed Amy as Director of Operations — she has worked for me and knows the people and staff of many people and companies in the space, knows how to run bitcoin events (she ran Satoshi Roundtable and Dubai Bitcoin Conference) and knows how to use Bitcoin wallets etc. For this month this will be part time but we really need full time on this soon and need the revenue to cover it right away.
Main items outstanding are cutting costs, transfer of financial records etc.
IRS TAX RETURN
We have a pending 990 tax return being prepared by Moss Adams – I need to get as solid an understanding of the past expenses to gain a comfort level in signing the tax return given that I was not with the foundation at the time the expenses were incurred.
We have our tax free status pending and are right now a self-certified 501c6. Now that we don’t fund core developers directly we can try for 501c3 status which is better. Perkins Coie is working on this now.
I’ll be working on the budget prepared by Jody B soon. The main change will be an addition of an operations person. As of now the budget she made has zero employees other than bookkeeping. One full time employee is key as there is quite a bit to be done. Things like overseeing fixing the website, managing email admin, working with international affiliates, maintaining the database, fielding press and event inquiries and running logistics for at least three major events was full time work for a staff of nine….I think Amy and I can do it alone with some good systems and community help — but we do need that full time role for her. (We will also need 2-3 contract people for the Annual Meeting)
I do want to just note once more that I’m not happy at all with past spending. The levels were very high.
The foundation website is a real mess….nearly impossible to update and very disjointed, confusing and with very high hosting costs of $2000/ month. Even the donation and new member sign on does not work. We need to switch back to the old WordPress site which is a superior model and has many advantages (and also I have heard cost over $100,000 to originally program – which is about $95k too high but it’s a good site) – and switch to a new host. Moving these and getting them set might cost as much as $5-8000+ due to complexities with the old servers, the forums, the blog and other multiple logins / related databases etc. Due to complexity and security websites is one area we can’t rely on volunteers. We have to fix it though — once fixed we can update the board members, add the new speakers bureau etc and will recoup those costs in savings.
BYLAWS / FOUNDING MEMBERS
I’ll be adding a GitHub request to ask you to vote remove all founding members from the ByLaws — per the bylaws, as of December 31, 2014 there was no remaining founding member active. We now have a 100% elected board. Also 1) listing Satoshi as a founding member is not accurate as Satoshi didn’t consent to this 2) frankly I’m not a fan of having Mark Karpeles listed prominently on page one of our bylaws and there is no reason we can’t break from the past and remove him. Members like Gavin and Roger can still have prominent roles in the foundation as speakers etc. and we can add a note that if Satoshi does ever come forward he/she can have an honorary seat or something like that.
[Potential partnership – redacted]
TRANSPARENCY AND THE FUTURE / MESSAGING
This week at Inside Bitcoins NYC I gave the community an update and presented a slide deck — the main focuses were transparency and the future.
The Bitcoin Foundation has now pledged to implement every single one of the 10 best practices listed by the National Council of Non Profits as well as other industry specific practices such as hashing financial records on the blockchain.
I’ll need some help in coming weeks on creating a board and officer conflict of interest policy (Jim, maybe you can help on this) and other items.
Brock was at the event but for those of you who haven’t see the media coverage we had over 70 news articles and stories on this… Three of best ones are below
Article from Coindesk (includes the slide deck)
1) get budget completed / figure out best ways we can cover costs — we have a need for some inflows
2) set final dates for San Fran DevCore, NY DevCore and firm up sponsors (I’ve spoken with some major sponsors who are excited)
3) set date and location for annual meeting – there are some very exciting opportunities in this—last year’s annual meeting was perhaps the best event in Bitcoin
4) implement all the transparency steps pledged
5) fix website and launch content such as education committee info
6) launch speakers bureau : so far I have confirmed Roger Ver, Erik Voohrees, Jeff Garzik, Nick Spanos, Paul Snow, Jeffrey Tucker and others….working on more – Brock and Elizabeth will both join- we send one inquiry to Jim also- any other board members can join as well
[basically speakers bureau is a free referral program where we match speakers and events – it’s great leverage and exposure for little cost] 7) strengthen committees — please let me know if you want to run a committee — I got [redacted] to agree to serve as a committee chair — any ideas of good solid people would be great
Jim and I have discussed him working on one (maybe Jim can Chair a governance committee or something else) and it would be great if Olivier could consider being Chair of a committee on crowdfunding / decentralization.
I think a Venture Capital committee could be very strong– how about we reach out to either [redacted] or [redacted] (or both) and ask them to Chair? Brock / Micky – would love your thoughts on that
8). Funding – we need funding but I want to prove ourselves a bit more before asking from corporate donors – we should also get some membership revenue and event revenue but could use some shorter term funding
9). International — one of the underserved assets is our massive 20 or so international affiliates all with their own active boards and memberships – we need to quickly improve the affiliate program (likely scrapping it for something more simple)
The Bitcoin Foundation is here to stay and we have an extraordinary opportunity.
We are going to make this work, make this a model of transparency and governance for any nonprofit in the world and we will repair the name.
We will make this a beneficial organization for Bitcoin.
Please let me know your thoughts and any way you can help support the effort.