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brucefenton
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I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:07 pm

Hi!

I’m Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin geek. I became involved in Bitcoin a few years back and was attracted to the technology because I see similarities to the early days of the internet and I’m fascinated by what this technology can do.

I co-founded the Bitcoin Association industry group, hosted the Dubai Bitcoin Conference, the private Satoshi Roundtable retreat and have participated in other events. I’m an investor in companies like ChangeTip and ShapeShift.

Today I am the volunteer Executive Director of the non-profit Bitcoin Foundation, the oldest largest industry group.

My background is in the investment business, I started my career with Morgan Stanley and then founded the Internet's first full service investment firm, Atlantic Financial. In recent years most of my focus has been on emerging technologies and emerging markets like the Middle East. I travel about half of each year and am passionate about freedom and free markets.

AMA!

-Bruce
==============================
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:10 pm

Hi Bruce,

Thank you for all your wonderful contributions to the Bitcoin ecosystem, and for always speaking out in support of what you think is right.

Previously on twitter you alluded to a major announcement:
https://twitter.com/brucefenton/status/ ... 3933529088


What is it?

Just in case, I also submitted this thread to see how people vote on it at: /r/Bitcoin
Help spread Bitcoin by linking to everything mentioned here:
topic7039.html

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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:12 pm

I'll bite! :D

What's the major announcement?
Whatever is rightly done, however humble, is noble.

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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:23 pm

I would also like to hear what first attracted you to bitcoin?
How did you first hear about it?
Are you still involved with Bitcoin for the same reasons today?
What future aspect of Bitcoin has you the most excited?
Help spread Bitcoin by linking to everything mentioned here:
topic7039.html

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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:26 pm

Hi Bruce,

Thank you for doing this. What is your opinion on what's happening in /r/bitcoin censorship. Do you think bitcoinxt is a viable solution?

taras
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:29 pm

Hello Bruce,

what are you future plans on Bitcoin ecosystem?
How you see all this after few years?
And what you think, in which direction to move ?
( I am small software development firm, and asking from this position)

Taras

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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:29 pm

Firstly, many thanks for agreeing to take part in this AMA. It's really fantastic to see so many of the big names in bitcoin coming here to engage in these sessions. And very well done to Roger for organising it all.

It was recently announced on Bravenewcoin.com that the W3C were building bitcoin into their Web Payments standards1. The Chairman of the Web Payments Community Group, Manu Sporny, issued a request for assistance2 in getting some form of bitcoin representation in this area, saying quite clearly that:

"The direction of the W3C Web Payments work is set by the participants. Currently, there are zero Bitcoin organizations involved in the Web Payments work. There are zero core Bitcoin developers engaged in the Web Payments work."

Since this is evidently within our collective community interests and the Bitcoin Foundation's remit, what are you (Bruce) and the Foundation as a whole doing to assist Manu and the W3C working group on this front?

1. http://bravenewcoin.com/news/w3c-includ ... processes/

2. https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/commen ... ls/cwo7ghg

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brucefenton
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:31 pm

I would also like to hear what first attracted you to bitcoin?
How did you first hear about it?
Are you still involved with Bitcoin for the same reasons today?
What future aspect of Bitcoin has you the most excited?
The very first thing that attracted me to Bitcoin was that I thought it was very unusual and interesting.

I'm embarrassed to say that my first investment was not based on knowledge or solid belief in the tech but more speculation - I didn't understand Bitcoin until later when those first early investments made some money and I started digging into the tech more.

What really clicked for me was about 6 months after I became involved and I realized that this was not just a currency or means of transfer but an entirely new INVENTION that could solve problems and do things never before possible.

So basically I was a slow learner! :)

Today I'm involved with Bitcoin because I believe, more than ever, that this tech can change the world. We've also all seen and learned new potential applications for Bitcoin that we might not have thought of a while back....even better ideas are on the way.

This is what excites me about the future: there are many smart people working on this and they WILL invent new things - existing great companies will also continue to innovate and improve products. Its exciting.
==============================
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brucefenton
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:34 pm

Hi Bruce,

Thank you for doing this. What is your opinion on what's happening in /r/bitcoin censorship. Do you think bitcoinxt is a viable solution?
I'm not a fan of censorship - particularly on Reddit which is self-censoring to some degree. If something is upvoted it is generally relevant. If 35 of the 40 top posts are about XT, BIP 101 or kitten photos then the audience has spoken. Despite its problems, Reddit is pretty good at having the crowd bring relevant things to the top --- so having any mod attempt to overrun that is not effective.

I think r/bitcoinxt is one viable solution. I think this forum on Bitcoin.com is another.
==============================
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:39 pm

Hi Bruce, I'm Nathan T. Freeman on Facebook. And I bet you can guess my question: what are you doing in mid-February? :-)

Also, given your track record on predicting the outcome of attempted regulation of digital currency (eg: BitLIcense) what do you think is the best strategy to avoid government meddling in Bitcoin?

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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:43 pm

Hello Bruce,

what are you future plans on Bitcoin ecosystem?
How you see all this after few years?
And what you think, in which direction to move ?
( I am small software development firm, and asking from this position)

Taras

I plan on working on this new project I mentioned [edit: I posted in the wrong order, the new project is mentioned below] - things change fast so it could take many forms. I also had one really exciting project which I'm trying to get the founder to let me join (you know who you are if you are reading, that was a delicious breakfast! :) )
So, its possible that I could join up with someone else or change/ merge/ evolve this project I mentioned.
Personally I'll do two things:
1) my first phase in Bitcoin was learning about the tech and opportunities, second phase was making connections and networking since this is generally a strength for me ---- next phase is that I want to build something or partner with someone building something
2) focus is key - like many people in the industry, I'm guilty of having too many projects at once -- whatever I do I'm going to be narrow in focus - a build project and in my volunteer time, the work on the foundation, thats it

In a few years I think this will be almost unrecognizable from where it is today -- this AMA series for example will probably go down in history as a pretty amazing list of participants. The industry is already much larger and less intertwined than even a year ago. There will be new leaders, new developers, new players who take this space by storm. There will be more people like Jeremy Allaire- super credentialed, very capable execs who join the space and build incredible things in a short time.

Best direct for small software co: depends on your strengths focus on solving a problem and something with a real revenue path - great tech moves forward a lot better when there is money around what it does :)
Last edited by brucefenton on Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
==============================
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:48 pm

Hi Bruce, I'm Nathan T. Freeman on Facebook. And I bet you can guess my question: what are you doing in mid-February? :-)

Also, given your track record on predicting the outcome of attempted regulation of digital currency (eg: BitLIcense) what do you think is the best strategy to avoid government meddling in Bitcoin?
I would definitely love to attend Anarchapulco ! I have some family needs which require me to travel a bit less but I should know soon.

Thanks -- I'm glad when people notice that I predicted Bitlicences problems a year before they occurred.

Best strategy for dealing with govt IMHO is:
- focus on the public first, elected officials second, well meaning appointed officials last
- non-well meaning officials should be ignored or called out
- focus on asking lawmakers to stay away from Bitcoin rather than proactively asking for regs
- focus on education and what is positive about the tech
==============================
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:48 pm

Hi Bruce, thanks for doing this AMA. I know this may be sort of a taboo question, but it's always fun to see answers. Where do you see the price of Bitcoin in 1,5, and 10 years; and how do you see adoption playing out, a sharp exponential rise or more a more linear one? Also, do you think there must be a battle between the people and governments in order for bitcoin to succeed, or will we see governments fully prepared to allow this technology to flourish? thanks.

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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:53 pm

Hi Bruce,

Thank you for all your wonderful contributions to the Bitcoin ecosystem, and for always speaking out in support of what you think is right.

Previously on twitter you alluded to a major announcement:
https://twitter.com/brucefenton/status/ ... 3933529088


What is it?

Just in case, I also submitted this thread to see how people vote on it at: /r/Bitcoin

The announcement doesn't have lots of details yet but you hear it here on Bitcoin.com first:

I'm announcing launch of a new stealth mode startup!!

I've spent a lot of time in this industry and now have an idea which I think is a very good way to use the technology to solve some problems and be profitable. I've been talking to some great engineers and potential partners.

The project will integrate many aspects of this tech and I think will be a big deal.
==============================
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brucefenton
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 3:55 pm

Firstly, many thanks for agreeing to take part in this AMA. It's really fantastic to see so many of the big names in bitcoin coming here to engage in these sessions. And very well done to Roger for organising it all.

It was recently announced on Bravenewcoin.com that the W3C were building bitcoin into their Web Payments standards1. The Chairman of the Web Payments Community Group, Manu Sporny, issued a request for assistance2 in getting some form of bitcoin representation in ......
I'd definitely love to see the foundation work with W3C. If anyone (maybe you!) wants to volunteer at the foundation to be our rep on this, act as a liaison and spearhead this, that would be great!
==============================
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brucefenton
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:00 pm

Hi Bruce, thanks for doing this AMA. I know this may be sort of a taboo question, but it's always fun to see answers. Where do you see the price of Bitcoin in 1,5, and 10 years; and how do you see adoption playing out, a sharp exponential rise or more a more linear one? Also, do you think there must be a battle between the people and governments in order for bitcoin to succeed, or will we see governments fully prepared to allow this technology to flourish? thanks.
I was way off for my prediction of the closing price in 2014 (I said 3000)! :)
Its very hard to predict these things of course and no one should base major decisions on planning any prediction will be accurate.
I still do really believe we will see a much higher price ....into the $10,000 per Bitcoin range.
Main reasoning is that Bitcoin is TINY in overall market cap at around $7 billion....less than the aggregate value of Snapchat, WhatsApp or the company that made the Candy Crush game and far less than even the smallest third world economies. Known venture capital investment into this industry has topped well over $1 billion and there is massive engineering and brain power being dedicated to this tech.
==============================
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:04 pm

Firstly, many thanks for agreeing to take part in this AMA. It's really fantastic to see so many of the big names in bitcoin coming here to engage in these sessions. And very well done to Roger for organising it all.

It was recently announced on Bravenewcoin.com that the W3C were building bitcoin into their Web Payments standards1. The Chairman of the Web Payments Community Group, Manu Sporny, issued a request for assistance2 in getting some form of bitcoin representation in ......
I'd definitely love to see the foundation work with W3C. If anyone (maybe you!) wants to volunteer at the foundation to be our rep on this, act as a liaison and spearhead this, that would be great!
Thank you, Bruce.

I am far from being the right person to do this, and would prefer to see someone currently within the Bitcoin Foundation do this. Certainly I think that the person in this position should have intimate knowledge of bitcoin and payments. However, if you do not find a suitable candidate to interface with the W3C, please ping me and I'll jump right in to fill the gap.

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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:13 pm

Bruce,

1) What do you think of Max Keiser's recent comment on twitter that bitcoin needs a 'Sinn Fein like organization' and do you think that the Bitcoin Foundation could provide a solution?

Given Jamie Dimon's recent comments on bitcoin, surely someone out there should be retaliating and calling for these banksters to be jailed (for multiple scandals/ failures to implement controls etc) as Iceland have done and then calling for these banks to have licences revoked and be closed down?

2) Do you think the Foundation should be looking to find government grants to set up an Innovation Lab to fund core dev? (eg Citi's Innovation Lab in Dublin which produced 'citicoin' is entirely funded by grants, so if taxpayers are paying for banks' research into blockchain solutions, then surely they would be happier to fund bitcoin core dev?)

3) Do you own any physical bitcoins and do you see them as a a useful solution to enable people to be able to 'get into' / purchase their first bitcoin?

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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:20 pm

Hi Bruce,

What's the status with Bitcoin Association?

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brucefenton
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:22 pm

Bruce,

1) What do you think of Max Keiser's recent comment on twitter that bitcoin needs a 'Sinn Fein like organization' and do you think that the Bitcoin Foundation could provide a solution?

Given Jamie Dimon's recent comments on bitcoin, surely someone out there should be retaliating and calling for these banksters to be jailed (for multiple scandals/ failures to implement controls etc) as Iceland have done and then calling for these banks to have licences revoked and be closed down?

2) Do you think the Foundation should be looking to find government grants to set up an Innovation Lab to fund core dev? (eg Citi's Innovation Lab in Dublin which produced 'citicoin' is entirely funded by grants, so if taxpayers are paying for banks' research into blockchain solutions, then surely they would be happier to fund bitcoin core dev?)

3) Do you own any physical bitcoins and do you see them as a a useful solution to enable people to be able to 'get into' / purchase their first bitcoin?
1- Max is a great guy, I got to spend a little time with him in the Isle of Mann. If what he means is that Bitcoin needs a more harsh, fierce activist organization -- I'd definitely agree. I'd actually like to see the Bitcoin Foundation be more neutral in dealing with things like regulation. It would be great if there was a really active and vocal opponent, but I dont think it will be us.

2- I personally would not likely be in favor of government grants for foundation work - I dont like the idea of using taxpayer money for something like this. If someone else pursued and received a grant we'd certainly consider accepting funds -- But, at least personally, I prefer to work with private enterprise and dont agree with use of taxpayer funds for anything other than defense of life and property

3- I dont own physical bitcoins but I really like them - they are useful to get people involved -- but the tech with wallets is so easy that this is a great way to bring people on as well - last night I was a guest at a college class and gave a couple students $1 worth of Bitcoin each - its so easy
==============================
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brucefenton
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:25 pm

Hi Bruce,

What's the status with Bitcoin Association?
I'm still involved but nearly totally focused on the Bitcoin Foundation -- Bitcoin Association is now run by Greg Simon who is a great guy, Bitcoiner and a capable leader. I stepped down when I took the ED role at the foundation --- one of these groups is too much work...two would be impossible! :)

There is room for many types of organizations and I think we could use some more -- along the lines of the above I'd love to see an organized professional group whose primary goal is to fight regulation.
==============================
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:39 pm

Hi Bruce,

What's the status with Bitcoin Association?
And BTW, thanks for your help with Bitcoin Association!
==============================
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:41 pm

hi Bruce,

what's your opinion of Blockstream composing 9 of the core devs? is there a financial COI?

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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:48 pm

Hi Bruce,

Thanks for doing the AMA! Can you give us details on the Bitcoin Foundation, what is the status of it these days. What is the main focus, where are the priorities, what is the purpose of the foundation now that it has changed so much in the past year? Do you see in the foreseeable future that the foundation will continue forward? Also, what is the foundation doing about the blocksize debate?

Thanks.

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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:54 pm

Could you speak about barriers to Bitcoin adoption in emerging markets specifically, and how those barriers are being overcome.

In other words, what have you seen in the works to help Bitcoin evolve from being merely a first-world toy, so to speak.

I would guess the barriers are things like access to technology, regulatory issues, and awareness.

You speak of your many travels and I'd like to hear your insights on this. Thank you.

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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 4:57 pm

Hi Bruce,

what's your opinion about the conflict of interest created by Blockstream hiring most of the core devs?

What are the possible solution to avoid this kind of conflict of interest in the Bitcoin ecosystem?

Thanks

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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:01 pm

Hi Bruce,

Thanks for doing the AMA! Can you give us details on the Bitcoin Foundation, what is the status of it these days. What is the main focus, where are the priorities, what is the purpose of the foundation now that it has changed so much in the past year? Do you see in the foreseeable future that the foundation will continue forward? Also, what is the foundation doing about the blocksize debate?

Thanks.
Sure!

Main focus is on increasing education and furthering development. So in this regard we are putting effort into events like DevCore (which we just held in San Fran) and education initiatives.
Main challenges for the foundation are that we need to serve members, continue to repair any name damage and raise funds.

The foundation isn't taking a side on the Blocksize debate -- we sponsored Scaling Bitcoin and we talked about the matter to DevCore -- we'd like to facilitate anything we can to help everyone come up with the best solution.
==============================
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:04 pm

Hi Bruce,

what's your opinion about the conflict of interest created by Blockstream hiring most of the core devs?

What are the possible solution to avoid this kind of conflict of interest in the Bitcoin ecosystem?

Thanks
I answered a similar question above. I dont see Blockstream in a negative way -- without them we cant assume that the money to pay these devs would simply be paid by someone else....as so few efforts now work to pay for development.

What I'd love to see is continued open dialogue and transparency as well as many more developers sponsored by many more companies. It would be great if every company that has received $10-20 million or more would fund at least one full time or even part time core developer. Its not just good for Bitcoin, its good business as it gives the company expertise, reach and recognition.
==============================
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:09 pm

Could you speak about barriers to Bitcoin adoption in emerging markets specifically, and how those barriers are being overcome.

In other words, what have you seen in the works to help Bitcoin evolve from being merely a first-world toy, so to speak.

I would guess the barriers are things like access to technology, regulatory issues, and awareness.

You speak of your many travels and I'd like to hear your insights on this. Thank you.

Barriers depend on the market -- and also if we include frontier markets/ undeveloped markets in the analysis.

Main ones are awareness, regulatory and business culture. One great thing in the US is that we have a "just do it" business culture and a very, very strong VC community. In some countries, entrepreneurship is not as valued, there is little to no VC funding and the attitude is not to get things done but to ask permission and make plans. We see this in certain Middle Eastern and Asian countries.

Related to this is awareness - the US is a tech leader and cutting edge along with a handful of other countries. In some emerging markets they may use and quire tech- but they might nit be as early on in embracing entirely new things. Once they do adopt, the adoption can move even faster than the US....we saw this with YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn for example who have huge penetration in many emerging markets.

I do travel a lot- 114 flights in 2014, 59 international!
==============================
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Re: I'm Bruce Fenton, Bitcoin Loving Techo-Econ Geek AMA!

Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:15 pm

Bruce,

1) What do you think of Max Keiser's recent comment on twitter that bitcoin needs a 'Sinn Fein like organization' and do you think that the Bitcoin Foundation could provide a solution?

Given Jamie Dimon's recent comments on bitcoin, surely someone out there should be retaliating and calling for these banksters to be jailed (for multiple scandals/ failures to implement controls etc) as Iceland have done and then calling for these banks to have licences revoked and be closed down?

2) Do you think the Foundation should be looking to find government grants to set up an Innovation Lab to fund core dev? (eg Citi's Innovation Lab in Dublin which produced 'citicoin' is entirely funded by grants, so if taxpayers are paying for banks' research into blockchain solutions, then surely they would be happier to fund bitcoin core dev?)

3) Do you own any physical bitcoins and do you see them as a a useful solution to enable people to be able to 'get into' / purchase their first bitcoin?
1- Max is a great guy, I got to spend a little time with him in the Isle of Mann. If what he means is that Bitcoin needs a more harsh, fierce activist organization -- I'd definitely agree. I'd actually like to see the Bitcoin Foundation be more neutral in dealing with things like regulation. It would be great if there was a really active and vocal opponent, but I dont think it will be us.

2- I personally would not likely be in favor of government grants for foundation work - I dont like the idea of using taxpayer money for something like this. If someone else pursued and received a grant we'd certainly consider accepting funds -- But, at least personally, I prefer to work with private enterprise and dont agree with use of taxpayer funds for anything other than defense of life and property

3- I dont own physical bitcoins but I really like them - they are useful to get people involved -- but the tech with wallets is so easy that this is a great way to bring people on as well - last night I was a guest at a college class and gave a couple students $1 worth of Bitcoin each - its so easy

Bruce - I am a bit confused. If you believe that bitcoin could one day be in the $10,000 range - why would you not own them?

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