My name is Francis Pouliot
and I am a full-time Bitcoin advocate, educator, and community organizer. You may have heard of me as Director of Public Affairs at the Bitcoin Embassy, the first physical space in the world dedicated to the promotion and development of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Fellow Canadians will recognize me as the Chief Executive Officer at the Bitcoin Foundation Canada, a pan-Canadian membership-based advocacy group dedicated to ensuring a favorable environment for Canada's cryptocurrency ecosystem.
While I may not be a famous Bitcoin investor or entrepreneur, I consider myself a large stakeholder in Bitcoin since cryptocurrency (mostly Bitcoin) represents around 90% of my assets and is effectively my only source of income. I’m also a Bitcoin miner, integration consultation and certified Bitcoin professional with C4 (passed at 96%).
The best decision of my life has been to re-orient my rapidly advancing and successful career as a policy analyst for free-market think tanks in order to dedicate myself full-time to being an active participant in the cryptocurrency revolution. I still remain to this day an active supporter of the libertarian movement through my involvement in various pro-liberty organizations - but I will never use the Foundation as a medium to promote my personal beliefs. My general assessment of the current state of the Bitcoin
Foundation is that by pursuing too many goals, the Foundation has misallocated and mismanaged resources necessary to successfully fulfill the essential mandate of supporting technical development. It has not lived up to its potential and has disappointed many of its members, including myself. I truly believe in the Foundation’s mission to protect Bitcoin's technological infrastructure and that, in realizing this goal, it must remain an important part of the Bitcoin ecosystem. I also believe that the only essential mission of the Bitcoin Foundation, that should take priority over all others, should become and always remain the protection and development of Bitcoin’s technological infrastructure. My platform
With humility, I propose myself as to represent my fellow individual members on the Bitcoin Foundation’s board of directors. I have the skills, values, energy and time necessary to accomplish this task successfully. As CEO of the BFC, I have knowledge of the inner-workings of the Foundation and know exactly what its problems are and the best way to overcome them. On behalf of its Canadian members, I have attempted to act as a watchdog, being critical of its work and suggesting reforms directly to staff members.
If I am elected, I pledge to continue this role on behalf of all individual members. I now ask for your support so that I may obtain the necessary powers to bring the Foundation to implement the following:
- Technical development will become the Bitcoin Foundation’s only essential mission and main expenditure. Any other activities will be undertaken strictly with the rationale of obtaining resources and tools to protect and develop Bitcoin’s technological infrastructure. Resources dedicated to the training of core developers will increase and the Foundation will contribute financial and non-financial resources to other non-profit organizations involved in the development process.
- Direct political lobbying will cease immediately. In doing so, the Foundation will greatly reduce resources spent on policy issues. No more internal staff members dedicated specifically to policy issues and no hiring of lobbyists in Washington. However, the Foundation will adopt an institutional policy position which strictly denounces any technology-specific regulation of Bitcoin or any form of barrier to entry whatsoever, even if such barriers to entry are being suggested by its corporate members.
- Consumer adoption will not be a mandate of the Bitcoin Foundation and it will no longer attempt to produce educational material. It will instead support external Bitcoin education campaigns aimed at a global audience undertaken by other Bitcoin advocacy groups that have a track record of success by making available its non-financial resources such as intellectual capital, network, blog/website and public relations staff. If a void in such material is identified, it will provide small financial grants to other organizations for the production of such material. The decentralized nature of this approach is well aligned with the principles of cryptocurrency.
- Expansion of the affiliate program will cease immediately and, after consultation with existing affiliate chapters, the Foundation will study the possibility of re-structuring the program from the current centralized “franchise-model” to a decentralized “partnership model”. It will continue to provide non-financial resources to local Bitcoin advocacy groups and may provide financial resources to local groups engaged in development of Bitcoin-related open-source software, including but not limited to Bitcoin Core.
- Broad budget orientations and financial statements will be made available to the members and, by extension, to the general public. Such statements should at minimum include program expenses, administration expenses and fundraising expenses. The amount spent on technical development relative to all other expenses should also be transparent.
- Community support and public perception will be increased not by traditional “marketing strategies” but rather with good old fashioned regular communications from Board members following meetings and from staff.
- Standardization efforts will continue regarding the currency code and symbol.
- Switch from a “top-down/corporate” to a “bottom-up/grassroots” organizational model. This is something that, I believe, Patrick Murck has already started. Broadly speaking, this means reducing the bureaucracy and relying more on membership and volunteers. The Foundation should act more as a coordination platform / forum rather than a government agency.
- I will personally assume the unofficial role of watchdog, reporting to members my concerns over the management of the Foundation and personally receiving complaints directly. I will bring such complaints to the attention of the Board.
After having discussed with Patrick Murck, I believe that he is the most capable Executive Director that the Foundation could have at the moment. I also believe that we share the same broad vision as to where the Foundation should be heading and as your representative I will support him in his undertaking to bring the Foundation back to its roots. Nature and role of the Bitcoin Foundation – some thoughts
(On this point I particularly oppose candidates Cody Wilson, Olivier Janseen and Colin Gallagher)
The Bitcoin Foundations, as a private organization, is a platform through which individual and corporate members can voluntarily coordinate and implement their common interests. It does not, nor should it attempt to or claim to, represent the entire Bitcoin community. Although it provides a public service, it is only accountable to its members.
That being said, there is no doubt that the (uninformed) general public’s perception of the Foundation will taint its perception of the entire Bitcoin community by proxy. In addition, the Foundation’s technical team has a large influence on the development process and its actions will have an effect on the entire Bitcoin community, whether they are members of the Foundation or not. As such, the Foundation has moral responsibilities that other private membership-based organizations do not and should act with this specificity in mind.
The Bitcoin community and ecosystem are extremely diverse. In my opinion, there is only one common interest amongst all members of our community: the continued existence and expansion of a healthy technical development process which will ensure the continued decentralization and scalability of the Bitcoin network. I believe that this is also true within the Bitcoin Foundation membership.
I think the idea that the existence of a “centralized institution” such as the Foundation is contradictory with the decentralized nature of Bitcoin is beyond ridiculous. Nor is it contradictory with the crypto-decentralization movement to which I personally identify myself with. In fact, there can be no decentralization movement if individuals and corporations do not coordinate their interests via some form of organization. While it is certainly likely that such associations and organizations will eventually take the form of Decentralized Autonomous Corporations, I do not believe the necessary technology has been developed to a degree which makes this option a logical choice for the Foundation (and probably won’t for the next couple of years). Let’s be clear: the Bitcoin Foundation should never, under any circumstance, attempt to impose any agenda or barrier to entry whatsoever on members and non-members alike via the coercive power of government.
Also, the Bitcoin Foundation should not attempt to assert a monopoly over the technical development process. I am extremely happy to see private corporations such as Blockstream and Bitpay contribute to this process, and am even happier to see that individuals are still contributing their time on a voluntary basis. However, I think a large part of development should be undertaken by non-profit organizations in order to ensure some form of neutrality. Final thoughts – regulation
- My views on cryptocurrency regulation
As a libertarian, I am naturally against regulation. I do not intend to idly stand by while arbitrary decrees are imposed upon us, and, as such, I believe that stakeholders such as individuals, private corporations or local Bitcoin advocacy groups should actively engage government officials and regulators to ensure that no discriminatory regulation or legislation concerning Bitcoin occurs.
Under no circumstance should technology-specific regulation such as the BitLicenses be tolerated. Moreover, government decrees that are in effect discriminatory (such as the “double taxation” of bitcoins via sales taxes) should be fiercely opposed. Innovation does not require permission.
However, as we lobby for government not to discriminate against Bitcoin, we must also realize that Bitcoin does not and should not operate in a legal vacuum. Bitcoin business models that mimic legacy business models (such as currency exchanges) should be regulated in the same way as their fiat counterparts. For example, a Bitcoin exchange should comply to financial regulation in the same way as a fiat exchange. If we demand not to be discriminated against, we must also acknowledge that we can’t have special treatment just because we do not believe in the validity of the laws that apply to us.
I do realize that compliance requirements of the legacy fiat financial industry are often outdated and that the cryptocurrency ecosystem will come up with its own innovative solutions for KYC/AML. These solutions are to be encouraged and, ideally, they will become the standard not only for cryptocurrency businesses but for the entire financial industry.
Bitcoin is like an economic trojan horse – if we really want the cryptocurrency revolution to happen, it is crucially important that there be an economic infrastructure with exchanges, payment processors, brokers, financial products, etc. This is the key to mainstream user adoption and this will only occur if we play by the rules. Government can’t stop Bitcoin but it can certainly greatly slow down progress by enforcing its power on the individuals and corporations that compose the Bitcoin economic ecosystem, something even the most anarchic members of the community should realize.
- Why I think the Bitcoin Foundation should not be engaged in lobbying
(On this point I particularly oppose candidate Jim Harper)
It seems to me that the Foundation has an “identity crisis” because its mandate is simply too broad. It cannot be at the same time a “Linux Foundation-style” organization and a lobby group such as the Digital Chamber of Commerce or think tank such as Coin Center. Because it has given itself too many goals, each goal has been inefficiently carried out.
The Foundation’s involvement in lobbying has considerably contributed to its negative perception by the community, which means less membership and less revenue. This means that there are fewer and fewer financial resources available for technical development. I believe that retreating from active political lobbying may reverse this trend.
The main reason is strictly based on pragmatism and resource allocation. There are various groups all over the world, including in the United States, who are actively involved in the fight against discriminatory or excessive Bitcoin regulation. The void that the Bitcoin Foundation had attempted to fill when it initially got into lobbying clearly does not exist anymore. However, there are no other non-profit organization involved in supporting technical development, so that in that area there is a very real void.
Finally, policy is inherently local and jurisdictional while the Foundation aims to be a global organization. I don’t think non-US members appreciate that their contributions are being spent on lobbying in Washington while the Foundation does nothing to prevent their own governments from obstructing the progress of Bitcoin. 10 reasons you should vote for me
- I have experience in managing Bitcoin-related non-profit organizations.
- I have a proven track record as a Bitcoin advocate and community organizer.
- I have time to fulfill my mandate and enjoy the full support of my employer the Bitcoin Embassy.
- I am energetic and passionate.
- I already have knowledge of the inner-workings of the Foundation and have a clear vision for the future.
- I have no investment in any Bitcoin corporation thus no conflict of interest. 85% of my assets are bitcoins – it is in my self-interest to ensure Bitcoin’s success.
- I am a good public speaker and present myself well in front of the media.
- I genuinely believe in the Bitcoin Foundation’s mission and I truly wish its success.
- I have never been involved in any scandal or controversy whatsoever.
You can reach me at [email protected]
or at 1 855 922-3622.
I'll be answering all day, at least until 6 PM EST, or however long this stays on the front page!
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