We Need The Bitcoin Foundation
by Ethan Glover, Tue, Dec 23, 2014 - (Edited) Thu, Oct 06, 2016
I have noticed a tragic way people think in the anarcho-capitalist and libertarian world. Some people distrust anything they consider ‘centralized’ or ‘standardized.’ This, to me, shows naivety about how the world works.
Disband.it, built by Cody Wilson, shows what I mean. The site claims he wants to dissolve the Bitcoin Foundation.
He says the group wants to regulate bitcoin and needs to go. I gave Cody the benefit of the doubt and asked him if he had any sources.
From his response, he does not. Either that or his idea of trying to spread his message involves responding to questions with petty insults.
So I looked up the issue myself. I looked at what the Bitcoin Foundation has done about regulation. I haven’t found anything.
The most controversial issue? New York approached the foundation about ‘BitLicenses.’ The foundation gave their input (PDF), and New York has since changed and delayed the regulation.
I would like to remind Cody Wilson and others that the Bitcoin Foundation does not own bitcoin. New York’s regulations have nothing to do with what the group does or supports.
If New York wants to regulate bitcoin, they’ll do it. They don’t need the Bitcoin Foundation’s permission. I like the fact that the group connected the community and lawmakers but it was trivial.
What Is Standardization?
Hopefully, the bitcoin community understands what standardization groups do. Governments may look to them for regulation, but they are, like it or not, apolitical. They’re not there to take your side; they’re there to act as a resource.
The Bitcoin Foundation wants to standardize, not regulate. Standardization is a fantastic thing and a crucial one.
For instance, groups like W3C and ISO set the standards for several industries. Some of the goals of W3C, for example, include ensuring good web development practices that work for every user and device.
If you follow W3C guidelines, which you don’t have to do, you know your site will work for everyone. The largest amount of people will use your site or app without issue.
As I build this new site, I follow all kinds of standards. I do my best to keep the page load time low (not easy with WordPress sometimes).
I follow open graph protocols to ensure that when you share my site (please do), the share will show the right description and image. This protocol also matches my social profiles with the site. Google can then determine social authority without plugins or any undue page loading.
Every post not only has a date and time associated with the publishing of new articles, but also a hidden updated time. With this, Google knows how fresh the page is.
I follow a lot of standards to give the user the best experience possible. (I’m experimenting with the writing.) I also follow those standards to make sure any social network or search engine understands how to traverse and work with my site.
The Bitcoin Foundation wants to do this for bitcoin. They want to make sure it works for as many people and as many businesses as possible.
They don’t want to regulate it for taxes or anything else. That’s not their job. That’s the government's job.
I don’t think the government should exist, but the foundation has nothing to do with government action or policy.
Standardization Means Adaptation
Cody Wilson’s made up ‘site’ is embarrassing. First, because everything written on it reads as a bratty temper tantrum. Second, because he seems ignorant of what’s going on.
Bitcoin will see standardization; it has to. If not, international organizations will never adopt it.
People will never see it as a currency. Instead, they will always see it as a token that some sites accept as a novelty and immediately convert into dollars. People will always think of bitcoin prices as a dollar amount instead of as a currency in of itself.
From discussions I have had, some people want it to stay this way. It seems they want to be a part of a secret club and do not care about the benefits bitcoin provides to the world.
For the rest of us, if we want this thing to happen, then we have to accept the fact that standard and best practices will emerge.
We have to accept that it’s good to have these foundations out there that stay up to date with things. Every industry needs a go-to place to help businesses adapt to and integrate into it without confusion. That's exactly what the Bitcoin Foundation is building.