Appointment of New Director Shakes Up Bitcoin Foundation

Ben Lee

Ben Lee

CEO and Co-founder of Neon Roots

Ben Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Neon Roots, a digital development agency with a mission to destroy the development model and rebuild it from the ground up. After a brief correspondence with Fidel Castro at age nine, Ben decided to start doing things his own way, going from busboy to club manager at a world-class nightclub before he turned 18. Since then, Ben has founded or taken a leading role in 5 businesses in everything from software development to food and entertainment.

Anyone familiar with Neon Roots knows that we have a serious interest in crypto-currencies.  We’ve already developed an app called OneCoin that keeps track of all your digital currency balances, and BitDash which was originally intended as an LED ticker to display the current values of popular crypto-currencies in real-time.  Anything that shakes up the world of Bitcoin is going to catch our attention, and that’s definitely what happened last week.

At least ten members of the Bitcoin Foundation have resigned after Brock Pierce was elected as the foundation’s new director.  Beyond being a former Disney child star in films like ‘First Kid,’ Pierce has gone on to become an extremely successful entrepreneur in the digital currency market.  Since launching his first digital currency startup in 1998, he has raised over $200 million for his companies.  He was one of the first to recognize the potential of Bitcoin and quickly became a vocal proponent for the currency by appearing at major conferences like the Milken Global Conference in 2012 when Bitcoin was only being whispered about in certain circles.  He now sits on the board of giants like the IMI Exchange and Mastercoin Foundation as well as being an active angel investor.

… but…

bitcoinHe’s not without controversy.  Incredibly serious allegations of drug and sexual abuse have plagued him since 2000.  He’s vehemently denied the charges and many of the claims have been dropped, but it’s this dark cloud that led to several Bitcoin Foundation members resigning after Pierce’s appointment as director.

It’s important to note that there were only 10 resignations out of 1,500 members, but those that defected have called into question Pierce’s past and criticized the Foundation’s screening process after being burned in the recent past.   The vacancy that allowed Pierce to step in was created after Mark Karpeles left following the Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox going bankrupt and Charlie Shrem leaving after facing charges of laundering money for users of the underground trade site the Silk Road.

The Bitcoin Foundation lobbies on behalf of the digital currency and promotes Bitcoin throughout the world.  The members who have left claim that their high moral standards are at odds with the election of Pierce and the group’s credibility has been permanently damaged.  Most of the Foundation seems to be unconcerned, however, and see Pierce as the man to continue Bitcoin’s march toward greater legitimacy.

Regardless of the controversy surrounding the Bitcoin Foundation, the popular crypto-currency is still on the rise and is becoming accepted as payment by more and more businesses (Neon Roots included).  It’s still attractive to a wide variety of people from startups using crowdfunding to buy up the currency to established venture capital firms.  To see how our Los Angeles mobile development shop is utilizing Bitcoin and other digital currencies feel free to contact us.

Source, Reuters, ‘http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/16/us-bitcoin-foundation-resignations-idUSBREA4F02B20140516,’ Joseph Menn, May 16, 2014.
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/fdecomite/

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