One of the questions we ask ourselves more and more these days is whether or not we need the Bitcoin Foundation in order to make Bitcoin a success. Or to be more precise, do we need the Bitcoin Foundation in its current form, where they rather seem to be focusing on their “corporate” members instead of focusing on what this should be about : Bitcoin itself. Maybe things will be changing with the upcoming elections, assuming they will ever be announced that is.
Becoming a Local Bitcoin Foundation Chapter – A Big No-no
Do you live in a country where is some sort of official Bitcoin “organization” or “association”? If so, make sure to tell them that becoming a chapter of the Bitcoin Foundation is not as glorious as one might think it is. Granted, everyone will be united under the banner of the Bitcoin Foundation, but is that something that will benefit your local group? Probably not.
On top of that, most local “associations” ask their members to pay a monthly or yearly contribution, which will then be used to increase the awareness of Bitcoin in your country, as well as organize local meetups, et cetera. Most of the associations are not cash cows, nor do they aim to be by any stretch of the imagination.
However, what little funds they might be gathering will be going to the Bitcoin Foundation for the most part, once you become a local chapter. After all, being a member of the Bitcoin Foundation is not free, and they could even ask to give them up to 70% of your association’s revenue, just to be a part of the Foundation as a local chapter. This system is called a “membership sharing arrangement”.
But there is another side to the medallion as well. Local associations are completely autonomous, and will usually allow their own members to become members of the Bitcoin Foundation as well. However, once your local association turns into a local Bitcoin Foundation chapter, nearly all of that autonomy will be lost.
Note from the author : When local associations become local chapters united under one banner, isn’t that centralization in its own way?
You might be wondering whether or not there are any benefits to becoming a local Bitcoin Foundation chapter, and let me assure you, yes there are. All expenses of your local chapter’s paperwork will be reimbursed by the Bitcoin Foundation. Depending on how big and active said chapter is, this could end up being a significant amount over time.
Furthermore, your local chapter can use the Bitcoin Foundation brand name in order to give it more of a “professional” appeal. However, whether or or not this will be a useful “bonus” to any local chapter outside of the US and Canada remains to be seen. Belgium definitely wouldn’t benefit from it at this point in time.
Last but not least, local Foundation chapters will receive logistical support in areas such as handling press enquiries. That is assuming your local chapter wouldn t be able to fulfill the request on their own, which hardly seems possible. Then again, it may prove to be beneficial in the long run, so who are we to judge, right?
Individual Bitcoin Foundation Membership – The Optional Way
As I mentioned before, there is no need for your entire local association to become a chapter of the Bitcoin Foundation any time soon. Every individual member of your association can decide whether or not he/she wants to become a Bitcoin Foundation member. For example, I am a member of the Belgian Bitcoin Association (60 EUR/year) and also an individual member of the Bitcoin Foundation (25 EUR/ year)
I’m not trying to dissuade anyone from becoming an Individual, Industry or Bitcoin Core sponsor, at all. However, I do want to prevent local associations from making the wrong decision i it wouldn’t fully benefit them in the way it should. And given the current cost vs. return schedule, most local groups will not benefit from becoming a local Bitcoin Foundation chapter.
Bitcoin Foundation Rebirth On The Way?
Keeping in mind that most important positions are up for (re-)election this year, things could change drastically in 2015. As of this writing, there is no official date set just yet on when these elections will take place, so we will have to wait and see. Then again, there are no guarantees their current structure towards local chapters will change anytime soon, if ever at all.
But there are some positive signs for 2015, as the Bitcoin Foundation has organized a Bitcoin hackathon in Boston a few weeks from now. This event will be mostly panels and talks and very little hands-on action by the looks of it unfortunately. And to make matters even worse, you will have to pay to attend, which will not please too many people. At least the intention of doing something for the Bitcoin community is there, even though it could use some more work.
Website : http://BitcoinFoundation.org