Letter from the Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation

The obsession we all share.

Peter Vessenes

Peter Vessenes, Chairman & Executive Director

Bitcoins have been a fascination for me (and many others) since 2010. Like many of you, I’ve spent unreasonable amounts of time tuning cgminer options, debating the buy-vs-mine decision with myself and others, gazing at mtgoxlive.com, wondering what a country that used only Bitcoins as currency would look like, and generally ‘wasting time’ on them.I’ve ‘wasted’ so much time on them that they became my full time job earlier this year, easily the best job I’ve ever had. The community—our community—is one of the elements that sold me on Bitcoins—it’s the most engaged, excited, entrepreneurial and energized community I’ve ever participated in. I love it. I believe Bitcoins truly are the Internet’s currency; it’s so exciting to be a part of this disruptive and engaging technology!

There’s a lot to love in Bitcoin-land, and a lot to be concerned about, too. There are botnet operators, hackers, and ponzi-scheme runners floating around our space. We occasionally hear threatening statements from government representatives that don’t seem to understand the law, much less how great Bitcoins are for the world. Our forums and community interaction have a certain uneven quality to them at times. Gavin, the current leader of the core client dev team, maintains the software and manages the core team without any compensation—or day job—beyond the joy of Bitcoin programming. There are legal questions to be answered about Bitcoins, different ones in different jurisdictions.

What I Hope the Foundation Will Accomplish

We can help solve or mitigate these problems as a community. My hope is that the Bitcoin Foundation will be the organization that focuses and unlocks all of your energy and talents towards promoting Bitcoins, protecting them, and increasing their legitimacy through standardization.

There’s a huge amount of support for the Foundation from many of the people who matter to Bitcoin’s future: Charlie Shrem, Mark Karpeles, Gavin Andresen and Jon Matonis are all starting out on the Board of Directors. Roger Ver has announced a significant donation to the Foundation as a way to get our budget launched, Mark Karpeles at Mt. Gox has signed up for the first Platinum membership, and I expect others will follow shortly. BitInstant and CoinLab have also signed up as Corporate Members. This sort of support before launch is super encouraging; I look forward to seeing more participation as we launch and get the word out.

Our Goals for 2013

So, what will we be doing in 2013 with the Bitcoin Foundation? We’ve set our eyes on accomplishing the following things:

  • Begin to pay Gavin’s salary and get him some budget for the core development team
  • Run a payments-oriented Silicon Valley Bitcoin Conference in the spring (Bitcoin 2013)
  • Publish a set of best practices for businesses transacting in Bitcoin, covering topics from accounting to physical and digital security
  • Create an opt-in certification process for Bitcoin businesses

Your Help Is Welcome—and Essential!

One way you can help is by signing yourself or your company up as a member. (Go to Join Us to do that.) Members get to vote for board representation (you can find out more about the Foundation governance structure on the governance page). We’ll be rolling out more ways for members to get involved in the coming months.

Thanks for your help and support. I’m eager for your thoughts: peter@bitcoinfoundation.org

Peter Vessenes


About Patrick

I am a Bitcoin consultant. My background is in information technology engineering, manufacturing, sales & marketing, and communications.
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