Is The Bitcoin Foundation Deleting Its Own Posts?
Edit: It should be noted that current Bitcoin Foundation Bruce Fenton was in a car accident in May. It is still unclear who deleted the post or why.
Update: Bitcoin Foundation Executive Director Bruce Fenton responded to this post on Reddit. He stated that the post had been written by a “communications person” and that he deleted because “[He] didn’t think it was productive and isn’t a post [he] would have made or approved” had he been the Executive Director when it was written.
We (just recently) asked for further clarification on if any of the post was factually inaccurate, specifically if the Foundation is bankrupt. We will update this space again if and when he replies.
A blog post originally credited to “Bitcoin Foundation Board of Directors” posted in response to then newly-elected board member Olivier Janssens’ Reddit post that the Foundation was broke, has been deleted. Blog posts from similar periods of time have not been deleted and questions as to if and why the Foundation deleted this post have been left unanswered.
We originally found out that the post had been removed on Sunday, but Archive.org indicates it had been removed since at least May 10, 2015. It was originally posted on April 7. We also noticed that their donation page was returning a 403 error (“Forbidden: Access is denied”).
Immediately after discovering the post had been deleted, we emailed the Bitcoin Foundation to ask why it had been removed and we were given this response:
“Thank you for your inquiry. We are currently experiencing technical difficulties with our website. We are hoping to roll out an exciting new website this week. Keep checking back!
Which doesn’t explain why their donation page returns a 403 error nor, more importantly, does it answer why the response to Olivier Janssens post had been deleted.
The post, which is still available through archive.org, was titled “The Facts About the Bitcoin Foundation” and laid out four main points they wanted to stress to the public at the time: That the Foundation “is not bankrupt nor have there been any discussions regarding a potential bankruptcy.” That the Foundation “did not fire 90% of its people” but also never revealed how many had been fired.
There was an admission that some donors had expressed concerns about the corporate governance structure of the Bitcoin Foundation but that “The strategic plan addressed these concerns.” And last, that then executive director Patrick Murck had volunteered to step off of payroll.
It is unclear why the Foundation decided to remove the post, or if any of those points are no longer valid. Until they are forthcoming, it will likely remain a mystery. Since taking over for Murck, current Executive Director Bruce Fenton has promised to bring more transparency to the organization, stating that he wanted it to become a “worldwide model” for transparency.
My goal for @BTCFoundation is not to simply have a good image but to be a worldwide model for transparency and governance
— Bruce Fenton (@brucefenton) April 16, 2015
Most would assume that keeping official statements that were posted in response to controversial events in the Foundation’s history would be a part of remaining transparent, and failing that, a reason for the removal should at least be posted.
It should also be noted that the Foundation, with very well-documented financial issues, just updated to a new website less than a year ago. It may be concerning for members to learn that a new, potentially expensive, website is being commissioned. A recent blog post did mention “fixing the website” was a part of the still-being-worked-on budget’s plan, so it isn’t unknown that they plan to update it.
Olivier Janssens was elected to the Bitcoin Foundation on a platform of moving Core development of Bitcoin away from the Foundation and bringing transparency to the Foundation’s finances. In April, he posted a scathing account on Reddit, seemingly revealing that the Foundation was broke and that Core developers had already stopped receiving paychecks. The blow back from that resulted in the Core developers joining the MIT Cryptocurrency Initiative and now they receive some of their funding from that institution. We conducted an interview with Janssens after the original Reddit Post.
We have contacted Janssens and the Bitcoin Foundation for further comment, but have not received a response at press time.