Brock Pierce Elected Bitcoin Foundation Board Chairman

Venture capitalist Brock Pierce has been named chairman of the board of directors at the Bitcoin Foundation, the digital currency’s oldest trade organisation.

Pierce was elected to the position by a 3-0 vote Tuesday, with board member Olivier Janssens abstaining. The 34-year-old was nominated by board member and BTC China CEO Bobby Lee, with whom Pierce was elected to the foundation in May of 2014.

In interview, Pierce indicated that his role will now be to work with newly appointed executive director Bruce Fenton as he shapes the nonprofit’s 2015 strategy and works to create consensus on how the Bitcoin Foundation can move forward on rebuilding its image.

Pierce told CoinDesk:

“A lot of us believe in the foundation and we believe it can be effective at advocating on behalf of the industry. Some people might say there are aspects that are broken. I say it’s a lot harder to be part of the solution than the problem, that’s why I ran for the board.”

The election follows weeks of heated debate about the future of the organisation among its board members, its membership body and the wider digital currency community.

Further, it comes on the heels of an announcement by MIT Media Lab today that it had formally hired three core developers previously supported by the foundation.

Common alignment

Throughout the interview, Pierce strived to suggest that the board of directors, including its newly elected industry members, are eager to put recent disagreements in the past and find a “common alignment”.

Tensions first flared in early April, when board member Olivier Janssens took to social media to alert the community of the foundation’s financial state.

Still, Pierce voiced his desire to work with all current board members on a path forward, one that would find the body disclosing its decisions faster and with greater transparency.

“I have a strong desire to work with everyone on the team,” Pierce said. “We were all elected by the membership, and it’s our job to figure out how to come together and collaborate.”

Pierce said he foresees the Bitcoin Foundation board remaining comprised of both individual and industry members, even as it becomes a more general interest group, adding that there are no plans to change its organisational structure.

Continued focus

Pierce downplayed the significance of the appointment in the context of his career in the bitcoin industry, one that has so far been plagued by controversies stemming from past allegations of improprieties.

“I’m certainly someone that has devoted pretty much all of my time and energy to this sector as a whole in supporting the entrepreneurs and businesses that have been started in this space and advocating for the industry on a global basis,” he said. “This is what I do already.”

The investor has contributed to funding rounds both through venture firm Crypo Currency Partners and through a personal AngelList syndicate.

However, Pierce stressed that the role was a non-paid position and that this would simply require more time and energy on his part, a proposition he said he only accepted with some trepidation and with the knowledge that someone would need to step up and shoulder the work for the greater good.

“Someone’s got to do it,” he concluded.

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