The Bitcoin Foundation has a new Executive Director. Llew Claasen, managing partner at Newtown Partners, a venture capital firm based in Cape Town, South Africa, will take the reins from outgoing director, Bruce Fenton who has served in that volunteer position since April of 2015.
The announcement was made this morning at the Blockchain Training Conference in Toronto.
Over the past year, the embattled Bitcoin Foundation has been challenged to put its financial house in order while redefining its role in the Bitcoin space.
Fenton stated that the Foundation now focuses on three main missions: to encourage and foster development of Bitcoin; to promote education and adoption among the general public; and to influence law and policy makers to find technical solutions rather than regulatory solutions to issues in the space.
“I’m proud of what the Bitcoin Foundation accomplished during my leadership,” said Fenton. “When I came aboard the organization had been through some very tough times with its very future in doubt. It was perhaps it’s darkest hour. Today as I leave, the foundation is the best it’s been in years, possibly ever.”
He pointed out that the Foundation had cut expenses to by 94% from peak month-to-month spending; indeed, it eliminated all outstanding debts and now has more capital than it did a year ago. It also hosted two DevCore events, initiated a massive transparency effort, and launched the speakers bureau and press service.
Now that the Foundation is on firmer financial footing, incoming director Claasen will bring his skills in digital marketing and product management to bear on promoting and growing the Foundation as it moves forward.
“There are any number of possible plans,” said Claasen about the Bitcoin Foundation’s next steps. “No one plan will guarantee success.”
He emphasized that Bitcoin is still in early stages of development. “We are still working on the ‘plumbing’ of the house and can’t worry yet about the finishing touches.”
Claasen also said that whatever plan the Foundation adopts will need to be nimble. “Developing markets will drive adoption,” he said. “Bitcoin is a technology, not a product.”
Both Claasen and Fenton encouraged all members to get involved and share ideas.
“This organization is here and if you are involved in Bitcoin then the Foundation belongs to you,” said Fenton.