The Bitcoin Foundation today announced the addition of Bitcoin France, the tenth chapter affiliate to join the foundation’s growing international network of leaders providing education to local media, merchants, consumers, policy-makers and regulatory agencies. Philippe Rodriguez serves as President, Thomas France as Treasurer, Pierre Noizat as Secretary General and board members Thomas Voegtlin, Gonzague Grandval, David François and Eric Larchevêque.
“France is a country where liberty ranks high as a top value, making the country fertile ground for innovative services and companies using the Bitcoin protocol,” said Jon Matonis, Executive Director.
“We are delighted to join forces with the Bitcoin Foundation to promote the Bitcoin protocol and educate policy-makers in France. We deeply believe that bitcoin has the potential to disrupt not only part of the financial system as we know it, but, down the road, other markets where trust in a central organization is the current status quo,” said Philippe Rodriguez, President of Bitcoin France.
France currently ranks fourth worldwide in global active bitcoin nodes and recently, Minister of Finance Michel Spain stated, “We believe that France should let people try, invest and develop business with bitcoin before we tax it.” He also noted that when it comes to regulation, they prefer to take the middle road, “halfway between the strictest regulations [from] China, Japan or Russia or the lightest regulations adopted by countries such as the United States, Canada or Israel.”
For the second consecutive year, the Bitcoin Foundation will be participating in Sibos taking place September 29-October 2, 2014 and for the first time, the BAFT Global Councils Forum on September 28, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. This year’s theme is ‘Building Bridges’ between new entrants and established players.
“Traditional finance has reached its limits among the banked. I’m looking forward to collaborating with those with a vision for a future and a world where all people, despite social and economic status and the country they live in, have the opportunity to access and engage in the global economy,” said Jon Matonis, Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation. He adds, “The time is now. Now only a mere disruptor of financial services, Bitcoin provides massive opportunities for established operators in terms of efficiency gains and enhanced consumer protection.”
Sibos brings together over 7,000 decision makers and topic experts from financial institutions, market infrastructures, multinational corporations and technology partners. Each day, Innotribe at Sibos will dive into a single topic, exploring it from a multitude of angles and inviting the audience to reflect on each facet together. Monday will focus on “Disruption and Opportunities of Crypto-Currencies”, Tuesday is “Towards a 21st Century Networked Organization”, Wednesday will showcase the “Innotribe Startup Challenge Grand Finale” as well as explore “Innovation Capabilities” and Thursday rounds off with lively debates on the “FinTech Innovation Ecosystem.”
In 2013, Patrick Murck, General Counsel, represented the foundation in Dubai. Jon Matonis, Executive Director and Founding Board Member, will be representing the Bitcoin Foundation in Boston for the following sessions:
Sunday, September 28
Changing Lives: One Bitcoin at a Time (By Invitation Only) 2014 BAFT Global Councils Forum at SIBOS
10:00-10:30 AM EST
Monday, September 29
Future of Money – The Rise of Cryptocurrencies
9:30-10:30 AM EST
Regulation – Cryptocurrencies
11:00 AM – 12 PM EST
To see the full speaker lineup, visit SIBOS.
Image courtesy of Bitcoin Foundation.
Update: We have performed a correction to this story to correct the spelling of Grey/G2 Romania as it had previously appeared incorrectly.
The Bitcoin Foundation today announced the first Chapter Affiliate in Eastern Europe, Fundatia Bitcoin Romania. Fourth in the continent along with Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark to join the global foundation, Bitcoin Foundation Romania will lead localized education efforts in Romania and encourage adoption among consumers and merchants.
“I believe that Bitcoin is at point where everyone who believes in it – be it the currency or protocol – needs to work together to help it move forward. The partnership with the global foundation is our first step in this direction. Our main goals are to support Bitcoin in the region and to educate people about the potential of this technology,” said Victor Cazacu, Board Member of Fundatia Bitcoin Romania.
The leadership team is comprised of former CTO at Grey/G2 Romania, Victor Cazacu, board members, Dragos Birsan, Daniel Daia, Radu Georgescu, Edward Russell and Cezar Zamfir as General Counsel. This team has already spearheaded community outreach programs such as Bitoin courses at the Universitatea Politehnica Bucuresti and TechHub and will continue to reach out to universities all over the country.
“Engaging universities and students is important to the foundation and we’re pleased to see how successful and professional Fundatia Bitcoin Romania has been in their approach,” said Mark Woods, Affiliate Director of Bitcoin Foundation.
Romania joins the foundation’s growing international network of chapter affiliates around the world.
The Bitcoin Foundation today released a primer on the law of jurisdiction [pdf] to help its small-business and start-up members manage their regulatory obligations. It is also publicly available on the foundation’s Resources page on the website.
A global Internet protocol that holds out great promise for global financial inclusion, Bitcoin easily allows people and businesses to conduct cross-border transactions. “But doing so may place Bitcoin users and businesses under the authority of unfamiliar or burdensome foreign laws,” the report says. Bitcoin businesses face “the prospect of defending themselves in regulatory proceedings and lawsuits in far-away places.”
Commissioned by Robert A. McFarlane, a partner in Hanson Bridgett LLP’s San Francisco office and chair of the firm’s technology law practice, the brief primer details steps companies may take to avoid making themselves subject to burdensome regulations or lawsuits in states that are unfriendly to Bitcoin.
The report discusses several protective options: “IP blocking (also known as ‘geofencing’), screening based on user-entered address data, electing not to display ads to audiences in undesirable jurisdictions, and providing less interactivity to users in undesirable jurisdictions may demonstrate that a company does not intend to conduct business in a particular state.”
“No Bitcoin business wants to exclude any jurisdiction,” said Jim Harper, Global Policy Counsel for the Bitcoin Foundation, “but it is important to have that option. When regulations are unjustified by consumer protection benefits, the better course will be to conduct business in the jurisdictions that embrace innovation, the consumer benefits of Bitcoin, economic growth, and job creation.”
Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund hails from the Isle of Jersey and is the first regulated bitcoin investment fund.
The fund which received regulator approval from the Isle of Jersey back in back in July and was set to launch this month has joined The Bitcoin Foundation as a Silver Member.
The fund while not allowing for investments from regular investors but rather would allow pension and insurance companies to invest in bitcoin for the first time is making a major move to show the legitimacy of the fund and the advisors behind it by joining the Foundation at such a large level joining other players in the bitcoin space such as btcjam, CoinDesk, gyft and many more.
We will be keeping an eye on GABI as they begin the journey of managing such a large investment fund with bitcoin ties.
In response to a Bitcoin Foundation filing yesterday, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) quickly promised to provide the foundation more information about its controversial “BitLicense” proposal.
Citing New York law that requires a clear statement of “needs and benefits” for proposed regulations, the Bitcoin Foundation’s comments included a request under New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) for “any risk management and cost-benefit analysis (or any other systematic assessment) that is a part of the ‘extensive research and analysis’” the NYDFS cited when it issued its proposal.
“The community can help you fit regulatory means to public interest ends if they have access to the risks your study of digital currencies identified,” wrote Bitcoin Foundation Global Policy Counsel Jim Harper to New York’s Superintendent of Financial Services. The NYDFS promised hours later to deliver that information to the foundation within 20 days.
Echoing and extending community demand for more time to comment, the Bitcoin Foundation also suggested that the NYDFS adopt “an iterative process, in which you issue drafts, take comments for three months, re-draft, and take comments again until the many, many issues raised by the proposed regulation are thoroughly vetted in true collaboration with the community. ”
Citing the NYDFS Superintendent’s willingness to engage with the community on Reddit, the Bitcoin Foundation letter highlighted tools such as News Genius and GitHub that would support a truly collaborative rulemaking process. “[T]he department should resist the constraints of administrative procedures developed in the era of postage stamps,” Harper wrote. “We are confident that the community will meet you wherever you announce you will be engaging with them.”
The Bitcoin Foundation will publish all of the material it receives from the NYDFS for the Bitcoin community to review. If the agency takes the full 20 days to respond, the materials will be available just days before the close of the original comment period on the regulations, which was the minimum 45 days allowed by New York law. The NYDFS has signaled that it will extend the comment period on its sweeping, controversial draft digital currency regulation.
The Bitcoin Foundation introduced a new brand identity and website with a focus on the power of Bitcoin to unlock potential for global financial inclusion, stable money supply in countries with monetary instability, modernization of cumbersome and expensive legacy financial systems, and increased dignity for human beings around the world.
“Most people don’t understand the inner workings of the credit card or banking system. And by and large, they don’t care. They just want to know that it works and how it affects them. For most people, the deluge of information on Bitcoin is too overwhelming and confusing,” commented Jinyoung Lee Englund, Director of Marketing & Communications.
She added, “Whether you’re a family member disheartened by the 3-15% you pay in remittance fees whenever you send financial support to family overseas or a nonprofit trying to reclaim the 20-30% lost due to fees and inefficiencies in traditional financial services, you now have a ‘one stop shop’ to go to for the best and reliable information and resources on Bitcoin.”
Late last year, in the spirit of transparency, the foundation board voted to make the member forums open and readable by the general public. However, further attempts to update the existing website to reflect the foundation’s operations and activities proved to be costly, challenging and time consuming. It became apparent that an overhaul of the entire technological infrastructure was imperative.
“We had two main goals: build a dynamic communications platform that enables us to share Bitcoin’s world changing benefits so that anyone with any background could easily understand, and be a valuable resource hub for the Bitcoin community,”said Jon Matonis, Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation.
The new website’s improved technical infrastructure empowers the team to make real-time changes as well as sets the stage for the buildout of interactive affiliate and membership portals due in early October. In keeping with the foundation’s core value of decentralization, instead of creating original content, the foundation is committed to crowdsourcing and highlighting people and organizations such as Bitcoin.org, Bitnodes.io, Bitcoinfilm.org, and Xapo who are already creating valuable community resources.
Under “Join”, new visitors can read about the foundation’s work to date including but not limited to the ongoing standardization and development of the Bitcoin core protocol and software through the compensation of three full time developers and the administration of a technical grant program. In addition, the foundation has served as the leading advisors and trade organization in the industry for fostering a safe and sane regulatory environment in the U.S. as well as abroad. Lastly, the foundation works to broaden the reach of Bitcoin education by hosting the annual big tent bitcoin conference, supporting community resources and establishing outreach partners.
Thanks to the new platform, resources such as General Counsel Patrick Murck’s written testimony to the first U.S. Senate Hearing on Bitcoin last November, Regulatory Affairs Committee Chairman Marco Santori’s written testimony to the first hearing on the “BitLicense” this past January, core development updates and newsletters that sum up the foundation’s activities on a quarterly basis are now all easily accessible. Stay tuned for additional resources to be added in the coming weeks and months.