The Leftover Bits 16/4/2015: Gavin Blames Shrem and Karpeles, An Affordable Convention Launching, NY BitLicense Coming Soon

Note: A previous version of this article stated that Charlie Shrem had been found guilty of money laundering. That is the offense he was charged with, but he plead to a lesser charge of aiding and abetting the operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business. We regret the error. Also, I messed up his name in the title, which is really unacceptable, and I have no defense.

Gavin Andresen Blames Shrem and Karpeles

The fallout from the Olivier Janssens whistle-blowing post on the Bitcoin Foundation continues. Speaking to the Ibtimes, Bitcoin core developer Gavin Andresen stated that he blames former board members Charlie Shrem and Mark Karpeles for the Foundation’s recent woes.

Andresen stated that the associations with those two figures destroyed the trust between the community and the Foundation, which resulted in lower donations.

[blockquote]”That was a huge, deplorable, terrible hit to the foundation – a huge black eye.  [. . .] It was very damaging. Membership revenue went down and there was a lot of trust we lost.”[/blockquote]

Gavin Andresen also pointed to the falling bitcoin price as the other major factor in the Bitcoin Foundation’s woes.

Mark Karpeles was the CEO of the now infamous Mt. Gox exchange. It collapsed in early 2014, resulting in the loss of hundreds of millions of pounds worth of Bitcoin. While there is an investigation pending and there appeared to be some movement towards an indictment shortly after the crash, he has not been charged with a crime and things have seemingly cooled down (other than his recent mention in the Silk Road case).

Charlie Shrem was the co-founder of BitInstant and was found guilty of embezzling USD $1 million from the Silk Road. aiding and abetting an unlicensed money transmitting business. He is currently serving two years in prison.

The Bitcoin Foundation recently announced a new Executive Director, after Patrick Murk stepped down.

NYDFS Finalizing The BitLicense

NY Capitol Building

[Photo: Canucklynn]

The dreaded BitLicense finally appears to be right around the corner. After taking comments from the community, and then taking comments from the community again. The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has indicated that the BitLicense proposal is in its “final stages” according to CoinDesk. The NYDFS did not give a specific time frame.

In all honesty, the NYDFS deserves some credit for at least engaging the community and seemingly taking their concerns seriously. Very few people in the Bitcoin community are going to be happy with this or any kind of regulation. While there are certainly a ton of things I’d like to see change in the BitLicense proposal, that doesn’t mean the NYDFS didn’t try from their end of things either.

I am of the personal opinion that it is too early in Bitcoin’s life to enact any meaningful regulations that wouldn’t run the risk of stifling innovation, but for all the doom and gloom surrounding the BitLicense legislation, it could be worse, New York could be Russia.

Bitcoin Gets Affordable Consumer Fair


A bitcoin consumer convention is set to kick off in Atlanta this Friday and Saturday and it has one thing that sets it apart from similar conventions: a low price option.

Bitcoin conventions are interesting events. They are usually filled with some of the industry’s biggest and brightest stars, the attendees are almost entirely Bitcoin fanatics, so there is some shared culture, and the food usually isn’t bad either.

The problem is: convention tickets are expensive. Way too expensive for anyone simply interested in Bitcoin. At most conventions, tickets sit in the hundreds and attendees are either interested investors with serious cash to burn, or the hardcore fanatic type that are willing to pay nearly any price to see the likes of Andreas Antonopoulos speak live.

While the price doesn’t seem like a big focus for the organizers it is what made the event stand out to me (CryptoCoinNews has a post with more information about who is speaking and what kind of events will take place, but doesn’t mention the price until the end of the article). Attendees can join the consumer track for $49. For the casual Bitcoin user or person who is on the fence, that is doable. At that price point, this convention has a chance to do more than simply preaching to the choir like most Bitcoin conventions end up doing.

The Bitcoin Consumer Fair takes place in the Loudermilk Conference Center in Atlanta, Ga on April 17th and 18th. The “technical” track costs a typical $225 and is aimed at businesses and developers already sold on Bitcoin.

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