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Anonymity and Funding #19

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ABISprotocol opened this Issue Jul 17, 2014 · 51 comments

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The purpose of this issue is to explore the topic of Anonymity and Funding.

Some more details and observations are added as part of this open issue, below, along with a tentative proposal.
Observations:

  1. The Bitcoin Foundation funds bitcoin development through payment of staff to work on the bitcoin/bitcoin repository.
  2. The Bitcoin Foundation is a nonprofit organization with Bylaws.
  3. The Bitcoin Foundation's Bylaws do not presently contain any text which would require funds be spent on bitcoin development, nor is there any stipulation to indicate or prioritize how funds from membership dues will be spent.
  4. Bitcoin users' privacy, choice, and anonymity are threatened by a variety of actors, including, but not limited to random malicious individuals, many thousands of corporations with an interest in obtaining user information without the users' consent, and governments (including, but not limited to, the governments of NY State (within the USA), the UK (House of Commons, with recent DRIP passage there and enactment by "royal assent"), China, and the Russian Federation, as examples). As an additional observation related to this point, nearly all methods of use of bitcoin do not offer either privacy or anonymity, and a tremendous amount of information about the user is released through routine use of bitcoin.
  5. The Bitcoin Foundation's Bylaws do not presently contain any text which would require or prioritize funding of privacy, or of anonymity, as part of the bitcoin protocol through the bitcoin development process. However, the Bylaws do contain a reference under "Purposes" to "promot(ion) and protect(ion)" of "individual choice, participation and financial privacy." (The definition of privacy is distinct from the definition of anonymity, and in turn, anonymity (as expressed in mathematics and software, with one example provided here) is not the same as privacy or pseudonymity. A brief Electronic Frontier Foundation post on anonymity is also provided for reference.)
  6. Under Article II (Purposes), the Bitcoin Foundation Bylaws currently state:
    "Section 2.1 Purposes: The Corporation is an association of persons having a common business interest, the purpose of which is to promote that common business interest and to engage in any lawful activity permitted under section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code, or the corresponding section of any future federal tax code. More specifically, the purposes of the Corporation include, but are not limited to, promotion, protection, and standardization of distributed-digital currency and transactions systems including the Bitcoin system as well as similar and related technologies.

Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation and financial privacy when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation and financial privacy."

Proposal:

  1. That in the Bylaws, the (Article II) section 2.2 describing "individual choice, participation and financial privacy" should be expanded to read as follows:
    "individual choice, participation, financial privacy, and anonymity."
  2. That in the Bylaws, there shall also be a portion added to (Article II) section 2.2 which stipulates the following, or something like it: the Foundation shall "prioritize funds (from funds that are available as a result of member dues payments) for basic development of the bitcoin protocol, so as to increase the number of persons who are paid to clear basic development backlog and maintenance, as the highest priority. Additionally, priority shall also be given to proposals that provide funding for anonymity in development of the bitcoin protocol. Where competing proposals present a funding choice between privacy and anonymity development, the proposal that offers full financial anonymity shall be given higher priority in consideration of grants and other funding decisions of the Board of Directors, in any system of ranking of proposals which is utilized to present proposals for the Board's consideration."

Open for discussion.

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mdhaze Jul 18, 2014

Definitely interesting. To put it in context, then. Has the Foundation ever funded a project to increase or enhance anonymity? (I don't have anything like a list of what they have funded and do not know if such a list exists).

mdhaze commented Jul 18, 2014

Definitely interesting. To put it in context, then. Has the Foundation ever funded a project to increase or enhance anonymity? (I don't have anything like a list of what they have funded and do not know if such a list exists).

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ABISprotocol Jul 18, 2014

@mdhaze The Foundation has funded Coinpunk, which was not intended particularly to enhance anonymity, but rather was intended for wallet development generally, as I understood it. However, Coinpunk has, if I am not mistaken, folded (partially, I think) into darkwallet development. At any rate, that project was not funded by the Foundation on the basis of anonymity ~ Coinpunk was never an anonymity project. cc: @kyledrake

I may be mistaken, but I believe the Foundation did fund, or partially fund, #fincrypto14 (the Foundaton sponsored the first bitcoin workshop, that was on Friday March 7 at that conference, if I recall correctly), however, the Zerocoin/Zerocash developers presented a revised paper at #fincrypto14 that was not sponsored by the Foundation, if I recall correctly. Again, I don't think that this implied that the Foundation was actually funding an anonymity project there - I think the Foundation just sponsored the workshop sessions, and there was a lot that was presented at #fincrypto14, some of which was more privacy and anonymity focused, and some of which was not. Someone please jump in here and refresh my memory if I am wrong about this. cc: @imichaelmiers @matthewdgreen

At least in my limited memory, I don't recall the Foundation ever funding a project directly for the purpose of increasing or enhancing anonymity in bitcoin itself. Again, please correct me if I am wrong, though.

@mdhaze The Foundation has funded Coinpunk, which was not intended particularly to enhance anonymity, but rather was intended for wallet development generally, as I understood it. However, Coinpunk has, if I am not mistaken, folded (partially, I think) into darkwallet development. At any rate, that project was not funded by the Foundation on the basis of anonymity ~ Coinpunk was never an anonymity project. cc: @kyledrake

I may be mistaken, but I believe the Foundation did fund, or partially fund, #fincrypto14 (the Foundaton sponsored the first bitcoin workshop, that was on Friday March 7 at that conference, if I recall correctly), however, the Zerocoin/Zerocash developers presented a revised paper at #fincrypto14 that was not sponsored by the Foundation, if I recall correctly. Again, I don't think that this implied that the Foundation was actually funding an anonymity project there - I think the Foundation just sponsored the workshop sessions, and there was a lot that was presented at #fincrypto14, some of which was more privacy and anonymity focused, and some of which was not. Someone please jump in here and refresh my memory if I am wrong about this. cc: @imichaelmiers @matthewdgreen

At least in my limited memory, I don't recall the Foundation ever funding a project directly for the purpose of increasing or enhancing anonymity in bitcoin itself. Again, please correct me if I am wrong, though.

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bg002h Jul 18, 2014

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The privacy vs anonymity issue is one of the issues industry members and individual members do not prioritize similarly.

These issues are very delicate and must be approached in the proper way at the proper time.

I oppose writing in to the bylaws stances and priorities on tricky, controversial topics that would otherwise be subject to a vote by the current, balanced board.

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bg002h commented Jul 18, 2014

The privacy vs anonymity issue is one of the issues industry members and individual members do not prioritize similarly.

These issues are very delicate and must be approached in the proper way at the proper time.

I oppose writing in to the bylaws stances and priorities on tricky, controversial topics that would otherwise be subject to a vote by the current, balanced board.

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ABISprotocol Jul 18, 2014

@bg002h I am aware of these factors. A pull request will be authored nonetheless, after a lengthy period of comment in this open issue.

@bg002h I am aware of these factors. A pull request will be authored nonetheless, after a lengthy period of comment in this open issue.

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mdhaze Jul 18, 2014

@bg002h @ABISprotocol
sure seems to be a tendency for certain people to tell other people what to say, how to act, what to do and how to do it....In the context of generating pull requests on bylaws, I'd like to see that stop, and see the discussion be on the merits and the specifics of the proposal. Having said that one comment, I'm through talking about it and will proceed to follow my own suggestion.

mdhaze commented Jul 18, 2014

@bg002h @ABISprotocol
sure seems to be a tendency for certain people to tell other people what to say, how to act, what to do and how to do it....In the context of generating pull requests on bylaws, I'd like to see that stop, and see the discussion be on the merits and the specifics of the proposal. Having said that one comment, I'm through talking about it and will proceed to follow my own suggestion.

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kyledrake Jul 18, 2014

The Bitcoin Foundation gave me three months of living expenses to work in Coinpunk, which I requested via a grant proposal to build the first completely open source web wallet service. Those three months were approximately one year ago.

Coinpunk was finished (to a certain extent), and definitely played a role in dealing with Apple's wallet app bans, when it was the only available option.

Currently, Coinpunk development was on hold, because I decided that it made more sense for the Bitcoin community to help refactor BitcoinJS (formerly bitcoinjs-lib), which numerous wallets were using, but which was buggy and out of maintenance for three years. We have recently completed this work, which myself and two others worked on, out of pocket: http://bitcoinjs.org

There are plans to build a new version of Coinpunk, now that there is a much better library to base it upon.

The only paid work I am doing in the Bitcoin space is for Project Skyhook (http://projectskyhook.com). I do not directly work with Dark Wallet nor am I receiving funding from them. They are however using some of my code in their project, particularly BitcoinJS.

I'm not sure what the context for this conversation is, but I would like to say that I would be very in favor of expanding the Bitcoin Foundation's development grants program. It has funded some very important work in the Bitcoin space. If they had not funded my work on Coinpunk, the new version of BitcoinJS would not have existed, and the quality of the code in the open source community would have suffered as a consequence. Development grants aren't perfect, and not all projects will succeed, but they do tend to produce favourable results for everyone.

The Bitcoin Foundation gave me three months of living expenses to work in Coinpunk, which I requested via a grant proposal to build the first completely open source web wallet service. Those three months were approximately one year ago.

Coinpunk was finished (to a certain extent), and definitely played a role in dealing with Apple's wallet app bans, when it was the only available option.

Currently, Coinpunk development was on hold, because I decided that it made more sense for the Bitcoin community to help refactor BitcoinJS (formerly bitcoinjs-lib), which numerous wallets were using, but which was buggy and out of maintenance for three years. We have recently completed this work, which myself and two others worked on, out of pocket: http://bitcoinjs.org

There are plans to build a new version of Coinpunk, now that there is a much better library to base it upon.

The only paid work I am doing in the Bitcoin space is for Project Skyhook (http://projectskyhook.com). I do not directly work with Dark Wallet nor am I receiving funding from them. They are however using some of my code in their project, particularly BitcoinJS.

I'm not sure what the context for this conversation is, but I would like to say that I would be very in favor of expanding the Bitcoin Foundation's development grants program. It has funded some very important work in the Bitcoin space. If they had not funded my work on Coinpunk, the new version of BitcoinJS would not have existed, and the quality of the code in the open source community would have suffered as a consequence. Development grants aren't perfect, and not all projects will succeed, but they do tend to produce favourable results for everyone.

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David-R-Allen Jul 18, 2014

Thank you for that update, Kyle. If you have no objection I would like to post your message on the forum as an update to the great Coinpunk project and the role the foundation played in it's development.

Thank you for that update, Kyle. If you have no objection I would like to post your message on the forum as an update to the great Coinpunk project and the role the foundation played in it's development.

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ABISprotocol Jul 18, 2014

A couple bitcointalk threads refer to this issue. I've linked to them here (one, two) as additional information.

A couple bitcointalk threads refer to this issue. I've linked to them here (one, two) as additional information.

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kyledrake Jul 18, 2014

@David-R-Allen You are free to share this post with anyone you'd like.

One thing I do want to add though, is that I mentioned in passing to Gavin that I believe the Foundation should engage in more development funding, a proposal which was dismissed, something that I'm disappointed about.

I also share the Bitcoin community's concerns over the current state of the Bitcoin Foundation. It seems to be causing more problems and drama than it is helping mitigate, and most problematically, it has lost the support of the majority of the community it purports to represent. There is some good work being done there by a few people, but it is completely overshadowed by the controversy, a fact that the Bitcoin Foundation has unfortunately been hesitant to come forward, take ownership of, and be honest about.

I have pondered running for a board seat as a reformist, but I am not sure that the Foundation is setup in such a way that I would be able to conduct any serious reform work while on the board. For example, last I heard, one of the founding seat board members is also the treasurer. It makes a lot more sense to have an independent treasurer, considering how much money the Foundation currently has in its possession. I'm also uncomfortable with the "founder's seats" situation in which individuals cannot run for some of the board seats. I've heard that there may be elections for those seats in the future, which I do hope happens soon. Non-profit trade organizations should fundamentally be about the community, not about maintaining a board monopoly for the founders, regardless of their effectiveness in that seat.

The Foundation still has potential to do a lot of good, but that potential I feel won't be reached unless some meaningful reforms are made.

@David-R-Allen You are free to share this post with anyone you'd like.

One thing I do want to add though, is that I mentioned in passing to Gavin that I believe the Foundation should engage in more development funding, a proposal which was dismissed, something that I'm disappointed about.

I also share the Bitcoin community's concerns over the current state of the Bitcoin Foundation. It seems to be causing more problems and drama than it is helping mitigate, and most problematically, it has lost the support of the majority of the community it purports to represent. There is some good work being done there by a few people, but it is completely overshadowed by the controversy, a fact that the Bitcoin Foundation has unfortunately been hesitant to come forward, take ownership of, and be honest about.

I have pondered running for a board seat as a reformist, but I am not sure that the Foundation is setup in such a way that I would be able to conduct any serious reform work while on the board. For example, last I heard, one of the founding seat board members is also the treasurer. It makes a lot more sense to have an independent treasurer, considering how much money the Foundation currently has in its possession. I'm also uncomfortable with the "founder's seats" situation in which individuals cannot run for some of the board seats. I've heard that there may be elections for those seats in the future, which I do hope happens soon. Non-profit trade organizations should fundamentally be about the community, not about maintaining a board monopoly for the founders, regardless of their effectiveness in that seat.

The Foundation still has potential to do a lot of good, but that potential I feel won't be reached unless some meaningful reforms are made.

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bg002h Jul 18, 2014

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There will be elections this fall. The seats held by Peter and Gavin will be up for election, I believe. That's a founder and individual seat.

The bylaws do not require officers to be directors or vice versa. In the beginning, the work was divided amongst the dedicated bunch that started it. The fact that peter is treasurer is due to the fact the he was willing to be the treasurer in the beginning.

As the foundation grows, I expect more board members will want to start taking off the extra hard they wore while bootstrapping the organization.

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bg002h commented Jul 18, 2014

There will be elections this fall. The seats held by Peter and Gavin will be up for election, I believe. That's a founder and individual seat.

The bylaws do not require officers to be directors or vice versa. In the beginning, the work was divided amongst the dedicated bunch that started it. The fact that peter is treasurer is due to the fact the he was willing to be the treasurer in the beginning.

As the foundation grows, I expect more board members will want to start taking off the extra hard they wore while bootstrapping the organization.

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bg002h Jul 18, 2014

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That's "extra hats"

(iOS 8 beta has a ways to go when it comes to autocorrect)

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bg002h commented Jul 18, 2014

That's "extra hats"

(iOS 8 beta has a ways to go when it comes to autocorrect)

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ABISprotocol Jul 18, 2014

@bg002h Elections of personalities (or of new people that you like more than incumbent people) are not a solution to structural deficiencies. There will be a pull request after a lengthy comment period here.

@bg002h Elections of personalities (or of new people that you like more than incumbent people) are not a solution to structural deficiencies. There will be a pull request after a lengthy comment period here.

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ABISprotocol Jul 18, 2014

@kyledrake I'm taking all comments (including yours which I'm reading carefully) into account for the eventual development of a pull request on this topic. Thanks very much for adding your perspective here, I will be sure to think of how to factor it into the language when it is time to create the pull request.

@kyledrake I'm taking all comments (including yours which I'm reading carefully) into account for the eventual development of a pull request on this topic. Thanks very much for adding your perspective here, I will be sure to think of how to factor it into the language when it is time to create the pull request.

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I don't know what you mean. Anyhow, I'll be preparing for elections per the bylaws (but I will be submitting some minor tweaks in short, simple, one issue pull requests over the coming weeks).

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bg002h commented Jul 18, 2014

I don't know what you mean. Anyhow, I'll be preparing for elections per the bylaws (but I will be submitting some minor tweaks in short, simple, one issue pull requests over the coming weeks).

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mdhaze Jul 18, 2014

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Might be worthwhile to go back and review some of the older discussions on the matter of anonymity.

For example I find the following curiosity from a curiosity of the past. I quote in its entirety rather than snipping.

#4

MagicalTux commented on May 5, 2013

Sorry if I am a bit late here. Let me put some stuff I've been thinking while reading all the comments here.

First, I'd like to say that solutions such as Zerocoin have no value in terms of anonymity. We had experience here at MtGox from back in 2011 of tracking with the help of German police a group of Russian (or ex-USSR country) mafia fraudsters stealing German bank accounts and laundering Bitcoins by moving said coins to wallet services that would mix coins and make it impossible to trace coins, resulting in the same visibility Zerocoin is supposed to provide, and this didn't stop law enforcement from tracing the actual funds.
To be quite honest, those guys are used to see funds being moved around as cash, split by mules and laundered over time. Moving cash out that way is the same as hiding the origin and destination of funds, and because of that Zerocoin, while an interesting experiment, does not accomplish what people would expect from it (ie. actual anonymous transactions), but indeed increases the hurdle to trace transactions.

This said, I fail to see how making Bitcoin transactions anonymous helps in any way decentralization. I do see, however, how it could put a negative light on Bitcoin at the current stage where things are still kind of new. Bitcoin is already by itself "quite" anonymous (ie. knowing who is behind a specific transaction is non trivial), and pushing things anymore than that would attract a lot more bad guys, resulting in a lot of bad press and more difficulties to see new Bitcoin businesses (in terms of exchanges for example, you can just see how hard it is already to get a bank to accept to work with you).
The main risk I see here is that the effect of going too far on the anonymous part could actually reduce decentralization, and cause some markets (mostly exchanges and payment processors, as this kind of business also needs to respond to laws and regulations) to lose in diversity.

Now, if the foundation is to adopt promotion and protection of decentralization, I have no problem with that. I do believe that "diversification" may be a better wording than "decentralization", as just having multiple similar copies of the same concept in different places (or in some cases of the same sourcecode too) could just result in all said copies to fail due to the same cause at the same time, removing any advantage gained by decentralization.

mdhaze commented Jul 18, 2014

@ABISprotocol
Might be worthwhile to go back and review some of the older discussions on the matter of anonymity.

For example I find the following curiosity from a curiosity of the past. I quote in its entirety rather than snipping.

#4

MagicalTux commented on May 5, 2013

Sorry if I am a bit late here. Let me put some stuff I've been thinking while reading all the comments here.

First, I'd like to say that solutions such as Zerocoin have no value in terms of anonymity. We had experience here at MtGox from back in 2011 of tracking with the help of German police a group of Russian (or ex-USSR country) mafia fraudsters stealing German bank accounts and laundering Bitcoins by moving said coins to wallet services that would mix coins and make it impossible to trace coins, resulting in the same visibility Zerocoin is supposed to provide, and this didn't stop law enforcement from tracing the actual funds.
To be quite honest, those guys are used to see funds being moved around as cash, split by mules and laundered over time. Moving cash out that way is the same as hiding the origin and destination of funds, and because of that Zerocoin, while an interesting experiment, does not accomplish what people would expect from it (ie. actual anonymous transactions), but indeed increases the hurdle to trace transactions.

This said, I fail to see how making Bitcoin transactions anonymous helps in any way decentralization. I do see, however, how it could put a negative light on Bitcoin at the current stage where things are still kind of new. Bitcoin is already by itself "quite" anonymous (ie. knowing who is behind a specific transaction is non trivial), and pushing things anymore than that would attract a lot more bad guys, resulting in a lot of bad press and more difficulties to see new Bitcoin businesses (in terms of exchanges for example, you can just see how hard it is already to get a bank to accept to work with you).
The main risk I see here is that the effect of going too far on the anonymous part could actually reduce decentralization, and cause some markets (mostly exchanges and payment processors, as this kind of business also needs to respond to laws and regulations) to lose in diversity.

Now, if the foundation is to adopt promotion and protection of decentralization, I have no problem with that. I do believe that "diversification" may be a better wording than "decentralization", as just having multiple similar copies of the same concept in different places (or in some cases of the same sourcecode too) could just result in all said copies to fail due to the same cause at the same time, removing any advantage gained by decentralization.

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ABISprotocol Jul 18, 2014

@mdhaze I do not think that anything which would provide anonymity would (merely because anonymity would be accomplished) necessarily provide enhancement of decentralization. On the other hand, where people have the freedom of choice (which can be accomplished when one is anonymous, but cannot always be accomplished when one is identifiable, even if "privacy" conditions are met), there is greater potential for decentralization. I am familiar with the comments of MagicalTux in various for(a), and I generally disagree with MagicalTux's perspective. "Decentralization" is absolutely vital to support as part of the Foundation's purpose, and Bitcoin (in its present state) is not anonymous.

By the way, the commits from #4 (add promotion and protection of decentralization to purposes), which MagicalTux was opposed to, have long since been merged into and are now part of the Bylaws, as a result of Board action.

@mdhaze I do not think that anything which would provide anonymity would (merely because anonymity would be accomplished) necessarily provide enhancement of decentralization. On the other hand, where people have the freedom of choice (which can be accomplished when one is anonymous, but cannot always be accomplished when one is identifiable, even if "privacy" conditions are met), there is greater potential for decentralization. I am familiar with the comments of MagicalTux in various for(a), and I generally disagree with MagicalTux's perspective. "Decentralization" is absolutely vital to support as part of the Foundation's purpose, and Bitcoin (in its present state) is not anonymous.

By the way, the commits from #4 (add promotion and protection of decentralization to purposes), which MagicalTux was opposed to, have long since been merged into and are now part of the Bylaws, as a result of Board action.

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ABISprotocol Jul 21, 2014

One option (when a pull request is drafted) is simply to propose a commit that would appear as item 1) as it appears under the 'Proposal' section of the issue description:
"1. That in the Bylaws, the (Article II) section 2.2 describing "individual choice, participation and financial privacy" should be expanded to read as follows:
"individual choice, participation, financial privacy, and anonymity."

The other item (item 2) could be deferred for another pull request (not included in the pull request to be authored emanating from this issue) or could be proposed as a different commit in the same pull request.

Thoughts?

One option (when a pull request is drafted) is simply to propose a commit that would appear as item 1) as it appears under the 'Proposal' section of the issue description:
"1. That in the Bylaws, the (Article II) section 2.2 describing "individual choice, participation and financial privacy" should be expanded to read as follows:
"individual choice, participation, financial privacy, and anonymity."

The other item (item 2) could be deferred for another pull request (not included in the pull request to be authored emanating from this issue) or could be proposed as a different commit in the same pull request.

Thoughts?

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mdhaze Jul 21, 2014

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A refusal to make the modification as you have suggested...."1. That in the Bylaws, the (Article II) section 2.2 describing "individual choice, participation and financial privacy" should be expanded to read as follows:
"individual choice, participation, financial privacy, and anonymity."....

....would certainly reverberate throughout the Bitcoin communities, and in the negative. Yet an affirmative statement for anonymity would be a stand diametrically opposed to the new proposed laws in NY. Well, so be it.

Let the positions of the TBF be clarified going forward, one way or the other.

Suggestion #2 asks for action to support #1, as opposed to just lip service. Either one could stand with or without the other. You have two items to be voted on separately. By the way I don't agree with Karpeles's comment either, just thought it had relevance.

mdhaze commented Jul 21, 2014

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A refusal to make the modification as you have suggested...."1. That in the Bylaws, the (Article II) section 2.2 describing "individual choice, participation and financial privacy" should be expanded to read as follows:
"individual choice, participation, financial privacy, and anonymity."....

....would certainly reverberate throughout the Bitcoin communities, and in the negative. Yet an affirmative statement for anonymity would be a stand diametrically opposed to the new proposed laws in NY. Well, so be it.

Let the positions of the TBF be clarified going forward, one way or the other.

Suggestion #2 asks for action to support #1, as opposed to just lip service. Either one could stand with or without the other. You have two items to be voted on separately. By the way I don't agree with Karpeles's comment either, just thought it had relevance.

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ABISprotocol Jul 21, 2014

@mdhaze Do you have a different way this would be written? I'm of the mind that this particular pull request will probably be hotly controversial, even though it's obvious from reading the bitcointalk threads that the bitcoin developers (if they were to ever incorporate anonymity into the protocol / Core) would (again, based on my reading of their thoughts) be offering anonymity as an option, not as something forced upon all transactions.

I'm inclined to think that (in this case) the simplest and shortest proposed change will be most likely to see success. There are some aspects of the Bylaws that if changed require that you address and propose changes to other sections at the same time to ensure that your change(s) do not create inconsistencies or conflicts in the Bylaws, but fortunately in the case of this issue, the item 1) under Proposal for this issue, would not require changes to other aspects of the Bylaws. It would only change 2.2. Let me know of your thoughts on the proposed wording or if some additional changes should be added.

@mdhaze Do you have a different way this would be written? I'm of the mind that this particular pull request will probably be hotly controversial, even though it's obvious from reading the bitcointalk threads that the bitcoin developers (if they were to ever incorporate anonymity into the protocol / Core) would (again, based on my reading of their thoughts) be offering anonymity as an option, not as something forced upon all transactions.

I'm inclined to think that (in this case) the simplest and shortest proposed change will be most likely to see success. There are some aspects of the Bylaws that if changed require that you address and propose changes to other sections at the same time to ensure that your change(s) do not create inconsistencies or conflicts in the Bylaws, but fortunately in the case of this issue, the item 1) under Proposal for this issue, would not require changes to other aspects of the Bylaws. It would only change 2.2. Let me know of your thoughts on the proposed wording or if some additional changes should be added.

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mdhaze Jul 21, 2014

Okay.

#2 combines 2 items, unnecessarily. Simply change #2 to request priority in funding for anonymity oriented proposals. Then #2 is a hardline stance on #1. In response to an attack on the protocol. By NY.

The other thing #2 attempts to do is to increase the budget percentage for development work. That is a separate issue. IMHO.

mdhaze commented Jul 21, 2014

Okay.

#2 combines 2 items, unnecessarily. Simply change #2 to request priority in funding for anonymity oriented proposals. Then #2 is a hardline stance on #1. In response to an attack on the protocol. By NY.

The other thing #2 attempts to do is to increase the budget percentage for development work. That is a separate issue. IMHO.

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pmlaw Jul 21, 2014

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I would suggest replacing "financial privacy" with "user-defined privacy".

The concept of user-defined privacy when interacting with the bitcoin protocol is incredibly important from both a policy and technical perspective. I've had plenty of success making that argument in regulatory and law enforcement circles. We should all have a choice about how private or public we want to be in our financial lives.

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pmlaw commented Jul 21, 2014

I would suggest replacing "financial privacy" with "user-defined privacy".

The concept of user-defined privacy when interacting with the bitcoin protocol is incredibly important from both a policy and technical perspective. I've had plenty of success making that argument in regulatory and law enforcement circles. We should all have a choice about how private or public we want to be in our financial lives.

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ABISprotocol Jul 22, 2014

@pmlaw I like the "user-defined privacy" suggestion.
@mdhaze Please clarify how you would language it if you were writing the pull request. Right now my suggestion is something like this ~ the change would be:
"individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and anonymity."
I'm thinking about how else to language that, such as a way to indicate that an anonymity solution sought should be present as an optional feature, but that may be too particular as those are development details and not so much Bylaw details.
But please feel free to post here how you'd write it.

@pmlaw I like the "user-defined privacy" suggestion.
@mdhaze Please clarify how you would language it if you were writing the pull request. Right now my suggestion is something like this ~ the change would be:
"individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and anonymity."
I'm thinking about how else to language that, such as a way to indicate that an anonymity solution sought should be present as an optional feature, but that may be too particular as those are development details and not so much Bylaw details.
But please feel free to post here how you'd write it.

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mdhaze Jul 22, 2014

So the question here is a modification of the statement of purpose of a non profit corporation. I'm saying that for a reason. Such a statement is short and simple. There is no need for minute attention to words such as occurs in a legal contract.

Earlier I asked had the Corporation ever funded a project whose orientation was anonymity. Now I ask, has it ever funded a project which had as it's focus one or more of the following:

  1. individual choice
  2. participation
    In other words, is there practical and understandable import to these words? Maybe they mean any and everything.

Yes, #3 could be replaced with "User defined privacy", or likely better, "End user defined privacy." "Financial privacy" is particularly flawed as it does not attribute privacy to the user, and more importantly, it becomes outdated as we see blockchain uses for other than financial.

#4, anonymity seems difficult to misinterpret or misunderstand. At least to me.

mdhaze commented Jul 22, 2014

So the question here is a modification of the statement of purpose of a non profit corporation. I'm saying that for a reason. Such a statement is short and simple. There is no need for minute attention to words such as occurs in a legal contract.

Earlier I asked had the Corporation ever funded a project whose orientation was anonymity. Now I ask, has it ever funded a project which had as it's focus one or more of the following:

  1. individual choice
  2. participation
    In other words, is there practical and understandable import to these words? Maybe they mean any and everything.

Yes, #3 could be replaced with "User defined privacy", or likely better, "End user defined privacy." "Financial privacy" is particularly flawed as it does not attribute privacy to the user, and more importantly, it becomes outdated as we see blockchain uses for other than financial.

#4, anonymity seems difficult to misinterpret or misunderstand. At least to me.

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@mdhaze As to your question regarding whether the Foundation has ever funded a project which had as its focus one of more of the following, individual choice or participation, I believe the simple answer is yes. By my estimation, nearly any project that the Foundation has funded has added to individual choice and participation, because the things the Foundation funds are generally bitcoin-related projects. Some relatively recent examples (Q1 2014 grant round) of what the Foundation has funded are the open source network simulator, and Peter Todd's testnet seed, and as already noted here, one example prior to the Q1 2014 grant decisions is Coinpunk. There is a certain amount of redundancy in some of the recent funding decisions (things that are already supported or which have been funded before, receive funding again, etc.) However, if I were to assess the Foundation's decisions within the context of your question, @mdhaze, I'd have to say the answer is generally yes, but I'll add a caveat that there were a lot of concerns raised about, for example, why the Foundation chose not to fund certain things ( cc: @gwb3 ). I believe a stronger statement of purpose would help remedy that in the future, and while by no means is the Purpose in the Bylaws the only factor at play in the Foundation's decisions, it is important to re-evaluate it and partially recraft it at this time.

When the Foundation prepares to makes a grant decision, according to @jonmatonis, the following things are evaluated / looked at as restrictions on what can be funded:

"-project can't be solved by commercial market in effective/meaningful way;
-project should be open-source;
-project should benefit the bitcoin ecosystem and/or health of the network;
-project should be primarily bitcoin-related (no alt-coins);
-project should consider global applicability;
-grant requester(s) should be high quality and experienced."

On the point of the alt-coins, I see no reason why the Foundation should refuse to fund alt-coin development if the alt-coin development and testing is considered a necessary precursor to some kind of feature of the alt being later included in bitcoin development. This in fact is a consideration with zerocash, which I personally think that the Foundation should support, but that is just my feeling on the matter, and I won't get any further into that here.

However, under the Foundation's Purpose and its application / implementation in terms of what the Foundation Board has decided to fund, the Foundation did not support the Princeton University Bitcoin Security Enhancement Project (which would have provided two-factor security directly for bitcoin, and other things), despite the fact that the Grant Committee unanimously recommended the project. One of the Grant Committee members withdrew from the Bitcoin Foundation grant committee due to the Board's handling of grants, and also canceled the lifetime membership at the Foundation that the Grant Committee member held.

I feel like I'm rambling on overmuch at this point, and find myself straying a bit from the focus of this thread (although the above info in my comment is certainly relevant to this discussion), so with that, I'll just return to the section of the Bylaws which would be affected by any proposed change:

(As it currently exists, without any changes:)

"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation and financial privacy when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation and financial privacy."

(As proposed at the moment based on comments so far, the change would be to a single sentence, which after being changed would read as follows:)

"The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and that it offer the opportunity for anonymity."

The reason why I proposed that the sentence be changed to "that it offer the opportunity for anonymity" in addition to providing the "user-defined privacy" part is that if we were to say simply, "individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and anonymity," then the Section (2.2) would be implying that the Corporation would not be able to support a currency unless it already had anonymity, and such a blanket statement is at cross purposes with what I am trying to do here.

Instead, I choose here to close the sentence with "that it offer the opportunity for anonymity," which emphasizes anonymity in the Purpose, but is sufficiently clear that the Corporation can still support bitcoin as it is (which currently is not anonymous at all, but which can support anonymity if funded or developed), but would also make clear that a development path to support anonymity can be supported. I do not go so far as to add "where anonymity would be an option" or something like that, because at that point I feel such a statement would be touching more on details which should be determined by developers. It's fairly clear from looking at the developers' comments in bitcointalk related to the anonymity issue (see, for example, the bitcointalk threads referenced in a prior comment on this issue) that most developers don't want anonymity forced on all transactions, so it should be an option within the context of "features" (e.g. an optional feature) or "development." However, it seems to me, I don't need or want to get into such a level of detail in a pull request for the Bylaws to the extent that it would say things like "optional anonymity feature" or "development of an (insert desired details here)." Rather, I think simply emphasizing anonymity, or the opportunity for the same, is the simplest way to address this in the Bylaws.

So at the moment, it would read like this after a Bylaws change:

""The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and that it offer the opportunity for anonymity."

It should go without saying that privacy is not the same as anonymity and "privacy" offers significantly less protection than anonymity ~ with any questions regarding definitions in the context of this issue, please see the issue description at top which covers this more in detail.

Open to further discussion and "languaging." This needs more time / commentary here in this issue before this (or something very much like it) is authored as a pull request.

@mdhaze As to your question regarding whether the Foundation has ever funded a project which had as its focus one of more of the following, individual choice or participation, I believe the simple answer is yes. By my estimation, nearly any project that the Foundation has funded has added to individual choice and participation, because the things the Foundation funds are generally bitcoin-related projects. Some relatively recent examples (Q1 2014 grant round) of what the Foundation has funded are the open source network simulator, and Peter Todd's testnet seed, and as already noted here, one example prior to the Q1 2014 grant decisions is Coinpunk. There is a certain amount of redundancy in some of the recent funding decisions (things that are already supported or which have been funded before, receive funding again, etc.) However, if I were to assess the Foundation's decisions within the context of your question, @mdhaze, I'd have to say the answer is generally yes, but I'll add a caveat that there were a lot of concerns raised about, for example, why the Foundation chose not to fund certain things ( cc: @gwb3 ). I believe a stronger statement of purpose would help remedy that in the future, and while by no means is the Purpose in the Bylaws the only factor at play in the Foundation's decisions, it is important to re-evaluate it and partially recraft it at this time.

When the Foundation prepares to makes a grant decision, according to @jonmatonis, the following things are evaluated / looked at as restrictions on what can be funded:

"-project can't be solved by commercial market in effective/meaningful way;
-project should be open-source;
-project should benefit the bitcoin ecosystem and/or health of the network;
-project should be primarily bitcoin-related (no alt-coins);
-project should consider global applicability;
-grant requester(s) should be high quality and experienced."

On the point of the alt-coins, I see no reason why the Foundation should refuse to fund alt-coin development if the alt-coin development and testing is considered a necessary precursor to some kind of feature of the alt being later included in bitcoin development. This in fact is a consideration with zerocash, which I personally think that the Foundation should support, but that is just my feeling on the matter, and I won't get any further into that here.

However, under the Foundation's Purpose and its application / implementation in terms of what the Foundation Board has decided to fund, the Foundation did not support the Princeton University Bitcoin Security Enhancement Project (which would have provided two-factor security directly for bitcoin, and other things), despite the fact that the Grant Committee unanimously recommended the project. One of the Grant Committee members withdrew from the Bitcoin Foundation grant committee due to the Board's handling of grants, and also canceled the lifetime membership at the Foundation that the Grant Committee member held.

I feel like I'm rambling on overmuch at this point, and find myself straying a bit from the focus of this thread (although the above info in my comment is certainly relevant to this discussion), so with that, I'll just return to the section of the Bylaws which would be affected by any proposed change:

(As it currently exists, without any changes:)

"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation and financial privacy when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation and financial privacy."

(As proposed at the moment based on comments so far, the change would be to a single sentence, which after being changed would read as follows:)

"The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and that it offer the opportunity for anonymity."

The reason why I proposed that the sentence be changed to "that it offer the opportunity for anonymity" in addition to providing the "user-defined privacy" part is that if we were to say simply, "individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and anonymity," then the Section (2.2) would be implying that the Corporation would not be able to support a currency unless it already had anonymity, and such a blanket statement is at cross purposes with what I am trying to do here.

Instead, I choose here to close the sentence with "that it offer the opportunity for anonymity," which emphasizes anonymity in the Purpose, but is sufficiently clear that the Corporation can still support bitcoin as it is (which currently is not anonymous at all, but which can support anonymity if funded or developed), but would also make clear that a development path to support anonymity can be supported. I do not go so far as to add "where anonymity would be an option" or something like that, because at that point I feel such a statement would be touching more on details which should be determined by developers. It's fairly clear from looking at the developers' comments in bitcointalk related to the anonymity issue (see, for example, the bitcointalk threads referenced in a prior comment on this issue) that most developers don't want anonymity forced on all transactions, so it should be an option within the context of "features" (e.g. an optional feature) or "development." However, it seems to me, I don't need or want to get into such a level of detail in a pull request for the Bylaws to the extent that it would say things like "optional anonymity feature" or "development of an (insert desired details here)." Rather, I think simply emphasizing anonymity, or the opportunity for the same, is the simplest way to address this in the Bylaws.

So at the moment, it would read like this after a Bylaws change:

""The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and that it offer the opportunity for anonymity."

It should go without saying that privacy is not the same as anonymity and "privacy" offers significantly less protection than anonymity ~ with any questions regarding definitions in the context of this issue, please see the issue description at top which covers this more in detail.

Open to further discussion and "languaging." This needs more time / commentary here in this issue before this (or something very much like it) is authored as a pull request.

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ABISprotocol Jul 22, 2014

@bg002h "Extra hard" a result of autocorrect? Hmm. @bg002h, I never knew ye. ;-)

@bg002h "Extra hard" a result of autocorrect? Hmm. @bg002h, I never knew ye. ;-)

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mdhaze Jul 22, 2014

@ABISprotocol

You noted "but I'll add a caveat that there were a lot of concerns raised about, for example, why the Foundation chose not to fund certain things ( cc: @gwb3 ). I believe a stronger statement of purpose would help remedy that in the future". This is the crux of the matter.

So the statement has several broad brush elements, which most anything will fill, one half specific item (privacy) and the question here is to add or not to add one very specific item (anonymity).

This requests the board to take a stand on a potentially politically sensitive subject. Isn't that the actual intent? Just trying to clarify.

In my opinion in the lack of a stand on anonymity the Board would be free to reorganize BF to be compliant with the NY rules. At which point it would be a very, very different thing than initially envisioned, basically a model of submission and compliance to the worse possible example of over reach by a minor governmental entity.

Seems that would be bad in the medium term. Another round of well thought out and rational resignations.

So to answer your question, I'd simply request rewording of the statement to include "end user defined privacy, and anonymity" and see how they react.

mdhaze commented Jul 22, 2014

@ABISprotocol

You noted "but I'll add a caveat that there were a lot of concerns raised about, for example, why the Foundation chose not to fund certain things ( cc: @gwb3 ). I believe a stronger statement of purpose would help remedy that in the future". This is the crux of the matter.

So the statement has several broad brush elements, which most anything will fill, one half specific item (privacy) and the question here is to add or not to add one very specific item (anonymity).

This requests the board to take a stand on a potentially politically sensitive subject. Isn't that the actual intent? Just trying to clarify.

In my opinion in the lack of a stand on anonymity the Board would be free to reorganize BF to be compliant with the NY rules. At which point it would be a very, very different thing than initially envisioned, basically a model of submission and compliance to the worse possible example of over reach by a minor governmental entity.

Seems that would be bad in the medium term. Another round of well thought out and rational resignations.

So to answer your question, I'd simply request rewording of the statement to include "end user defined privacy, and anonymity" and see how they react.

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ABISprotocol Jul 22, 2014

@mdhaze The actual intent is to not just get the Board to take a stand on what many consider to be a sensitive issue, but as well, to reframe the purpose to make it more clear in the Bylaws that the Board will emphasize funding of basic bitcoin development as well as emphasizing support of anonymity development down the road. See a response from @petertodd here. (For those who are interested, Peter Todd helps develop bitcoin and also is an advisor to the zerocash team.) I'll also note that in comments above on this issue, @kyledrake suggested that more development funding should be emphasized.

@mdhaze The actual intent is to not just get the Board to take a stand on what many consider to be a sensitive issue, but as well, to reframe the purpose to make it more clear in the Bylaws that the Board will emphasize funding of basic bitcoin development as well as emphasizing support of anonymity development down the road. See a response from @petertodd here. (For those who are interested, Peter Todd helps develop bitcoin and also is an advisor to the zerocash team.) I'll also note that in comments above on this issue, @kyledrake suggested that more development funding should be emphasized.

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mdhaze Jul 22, 2014

@ABISprotocol @bg002h @pmlaw

Yes, "I got it". I was speaking only in reference to the modification of the statement of purpose, for which your (and my) drift was towards explicit clarification, while that of Brian was suggestive of letting sleeping dogs lie. Both attitudes have a place, I believe the former is correct at this time and place, and should be done as soon as possible.

That revision of a statement of purpose is simple and in my opinion can and should stand alone.

A strong, unambiguous stand for privacy and anonymity would go a ways toward reversing the well deserved negativity toward the Bitcoin Foundation in the greater community. (IMHO)

mdhaze commented Jul 22, 2014

@ABISprotocol @bg002h @pmlaw

Yes, "I got it". I was speaking only in reference to the modification of the statement of purpose, for which your (and my) drift was towards explicit clarification, while that of Brian was suggestive of letting sleeping dogs lie. Both attitudes have a place, I believe the former is correct at this time and place, and should be done as soon as possible.

That revision of a statement of purpose is simple and in my opinion can and should stand alone.

A strong, unambiguous stand for privacy and anonymity would go a ways toward reversing the well deserved negativity toward the Bitcoin Foundation in the greater community. (IMHO)

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ABISprotocol Jul 22, 2014

I'm going to head out for a week. Taking a break. I look forward to seeing more comments here when I return on August 2nd or so.

I'm going to head out for a week. Taking a break. I look forward to seeing more comments here when I return on August 2nd or so.

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petertodd Jul 25, 2014

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A strong, unambiguous stand for privacy and anonymity would go a ways toward reversing the well deserved negativity toward the Bitcoin Foundation in the greater community. (IMHO)

+1

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petertodd commented Jul 25, 2014

A strong, unambiguous stand for privacy and anonymity would go a ways toward reversing the well deserved negativity toward the Bitcoin Foundation in the greater community. (IMHO)

+1

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kyledrake Jul 25, 2014

Ultra plus one. Seriously, without autonomy, privacy and anonymity that at
least is on par with cash, why is Bitcoin better than just using wire
transfers or western union? Because it's cheaper? Why bother?

Apologies if this is off topic, I'm not actually sure what the context is
for this Github issue discussion. Been busy the last few weeks.
On Jul 24, 2014 7:39 PM, "Peter Todd" notifications@github.com wrote:

A strong, unambiguous stand for privacy and anonymity would go a ways
toward reversing the well deserved negativity toward the Bitcoin Foundation
in the greater community. (IMHO)

+1


Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub
#19 (comment)
.

Ultra plus one. Seriously, without autonomy, privacy and anonymity that at
least is on par with cash, why is Bitcoin better than just using wire
transfers or western union? Because it's cheaper? Why bother?

Apologies if this is off topic, I'm not actually sure what the context is
for this Github issue discussion. Been busy the last few weeks.
On Jul 24, 2014 7:39 PM, "Peter Todd" notifications@github.com wrote:

A strong, unambiguous stand for privacy and anonymity would go a ways
toward reversing the well deserved negativity toward the Bitcoin Foundation
in the greater community. (IMHO)

+1


Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub
#19 (comment)
.

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bg002h Jul 25, 2014

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Everyone agrees on the anonymity issue. The question is whether or not it's stupid to push that in everyone's face...I think being not so blatant is the more cunning and advantageous route to go. Why invite enemies by being unnecessarily imprecise..."we want the full spectrum of user defined privacy"--that sounds much less scary to the individuals who might be criticized for interacting with the foundation than "we want bitcoin to be as untraceable and anonymous as cash."

Contributor

bg002h commented Jul 25, 2014

Everyone agrees on the anonymity issue. The question is whether or not it's stupid to push that in everyone's face...I think being not so blatant is the more cunning and advantageous route to go. Why invite enemies by being unnecessarily imprecise..."we want the full spectrum of user defined privacy"--that sounds much less scary to the individuals who might be criticized for interacting with the foundation than "we want bitcoin to be as untraceable and anonymous as cash."

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mdhaze Jul 25, 2014

@bg002h
This Github pull request is about a change of the mission statement of TBF to better explain "privacy" and to add "anonymous".

RE your comments, this is not a movement not toward being imprecise but more precise. The current statement includes "Financial privacy". But we are seeing blockchain uses whose reach far exceeds finance and money concepts, therefore, this should be changed. "Anonymity" is omitted, likely by error, therefore it should be included.

Regarding the tone of your comments.....The issue here is whether I would prefer to be "blatant" about rights of anonymity and privacy, or stay silent because it might annoy someone in a position of power?

Everyone who holds such a position should resign from TBF immediately.

As you are no doubt aware, many organizations pay no attention to their mission statements. That's a separate issue which the market will deal with, IMHO.

mdhaze commented Jul 25, 2014

@bg002h
This Github pull request is about a change of the mission statement of TBF to better explain "privacy" and to add "anonymous".

RE your comments, this is not a movement not toward being imprecise but more precise. The current statement includes "Financial privacy". But we are seeing blockchain uses whose reach far exceeds finance and money concepts, therefore, this should be changed. "Anonymity" is omitted, likely by error, therefore it should be included.

Regarding the tone of your comments.....The issue here is whether I would prefer to be "blatant" about rights of anonymity and privacy, or stay silent because it might annoy someone in a position of power?

Everyone who holds such a position should resign from TBF immediately.

As you are no doubt aware, many organizations pay no attention to their mission statements. That's a separate issue which the market will deal with, IMHO.

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ABISprotocol Aug 2, 2014

I would like to add to this discussion a link to what "true anonymity" is, which by my observation has been defined differently by different people. If at some point the question arises as to whether to use the word "anonymity" or, in place of that, "true anonymity," here is a good discussion and resource relating to that, although the term "true anonymity" isn't explicitly described there. You may also wish to check out bitcointalk threads which discuss different people's views on what constitutes "true anonymity." In any event, the language of a pull request corresponding to this issue (Anonymity and Funding) should be written in such a way that it indicates that there is a strong, unambiguous stand for privacy and anonymity ( @mdhaze, @petertodd, @kyledrake ) ~ without needing to define the precise meaning of anonymity as there are different possible solutions that provide it. There should be an encouragement in the Purpose section of the Bylaws that ensures that pursuit of anonymity (as distinct from "privacy") is emphasized, regardless of the many (often ideological) differences of opinion that come about with respect to what anonymity is.

Here is an example of how this might look in a pull request that would change Section 2.2:

(original text)
"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation and financial privacy when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation and financial privacy."

(currently proposed to be changed as follows)
"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and development of anonymity when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and the opportunity for anonymity development."

Please advise if this language seems to be an improvement in the proposed change or if you would language it differently.

I would like to add to this discussion a link to what "true anonymity" is, which by my observation has been defined differently by different people. If at some point the question arises as to whether to use the word "anonymity" or, in place of that, "true anonymity," here is a good discussion and resource relating to that, although the term "true anonymity" isn't explicitly described there. You may also wish to check out bitcointalk threads which discuss different people's views on what constitutes "true anonymity." In any event, the language of a pull request corresponding to this issue (Anonymity and Funding) should be written in such a way that it indicates that there is a strong, unambiguous stand for privacy and anonymity ( @mdhaze, @petertodd, @kyledrake ) ~ without needing to define the precise meaning of anonymity as there are different possible solutions that provide it. There should be an encouragement in the Purpose section of the Bylaws that ensures that pursuit of anonymity (as distinct from "privacy") is emphasized, regardless of the many (often ideological) differences of opinion that come about with respect to what anonymity is.

Here is an example of how this might look in a pull request that would change Section 2.2:

(original text)
"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation and financial privacy when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation and financial privacy."

(currently proposed to be changed as follows)
"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and development of anonymity when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and the opportunity for anonymity development."

Please advise if this language seems to be an improvement in the proposed change or if you would language it differently.

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mdhaze Aug 2, 2014

Question. Should the orientation toward "financial" and "currency" be broadened? EG, Mastercoin, Ethereum protocols and extensions of the block chain which do not involve money. I favor this and see it as inevitably required.

mdhaze commented Aug 2, 2014

Question. Should the orientation toward "financial" and "currency" be broadened? EG, Mastercoin, Ethereum protocols and extensions of the block chain which do not involve money. I favor this and see it as inevitably required.

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@mdhaze To answer your question as best I can: Perhaps so. Note that I have responded to @pmlaw's suggestions earlier in this thread where @pmlaw suggested replacing "financial privacy" with "user-defined privacy." Please describe how you would change Section 2.2 with respect to your question on orientation toward "financial" and "currency," and how you suggest those words should appear in that section.

(original text)
"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation and financial privacy when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation and financial privacy."

(currently proposed to be changed as follows)
"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and development of anonymity when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and the opportunity for anonymity development."

@mdhaze If your thought is to broaden an orientation toward "financial" and "currency," I'm guessing the key to the broadening you describe would hinge on whether you would suggest leaving in place the term "such systems" in Section 2.2, or whether you would add something like "such systems and similar currencies," which would be slightly broader. the proposal might then look something like this (example):

"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and development of anonymity when using such systems as well as any similar currencies. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and the opportunity for anonymity development."

Additionally, I get the sense ( @mdhaze ) that you are inclined to include "financial" in there somewhere, perhaps "user-defined privacy" might then become "user-defined financial privacy?" Please add comment with how you'd language it (note that I am trying not to add much here because the changes proposed when a pull request comes out of this issue, will need to be short ones emphasizing privacy and anonymity, which are necessary for autonomy and decentralization to occur, I think).

@mdhaze To answer your question as best I can: Perhaps so. Note that I have responded to @pmlaw's suggestions earlier in this thread where @pmlaw suggested replacing "financial privacy" with "user-defined privacy." Please describe how you would change Section 2.2 with respect to your question on orientation toward "financial" and "currency," and how you suggest those words should appear in that section.

(original text)
"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation and financial privacy when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation and financial privacy."

(currently proposed to be changed as follows)
"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and development of anonymity when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and the opportunity for anonymity development."

@mdhaze If your thought is to broaden an orientation toward "financial" and "currency," I'm guessing the key to the broadening you describe would hinge on whether you would suggest leaving in place the term "such systems" in Section 2.2, or whether you would add something like "such systems and similar currencies," which would be slightly broader. the proposal might then look something like this (example):

"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and development of anonymity when using such systems as well as any similar currencies. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and the opportunity for anonymity development."

Additionally, I get the sense ( @mdhaze ) that you are inclined to include "financial" in there somewhere, perhaps "user-defined privacy" might then become "user-defined financial privacy?" Please add comment with how you'd language it (note that I am trying not to add much here because the changes proposed when a pull request comes out of this issue, will need to be short ones emphasizing privacy and anonymity, which are necessary for autonomy and decentralization to occur, I think).

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ABISprotocol Aug 4, 2014

I imagine that, in addition to the attention given to the problems caused by NY State, the recent pronouncements from the Russian Federation will give impetus to a prompt decision for a shift in purpose in the Foundation's bylaws to provide full, authentic, and express support for anonymity development. I will soon proceed to draft a pull request in connection with this issue.

I imagine that, in addition to the attention given to the problems caused by NY State, the recent pronouncements from the Russian Federation will give impetus to a prompt decision for a shift in purpose in the Foundation's bylaws to provide full, authentic, and express support for anonymity development. I will soon proceed to draft a pull request in connection with this issue.

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mdhaze Aug 4, 2014

@ABISprotocol My apologies if I am not clear on the "why" of extending beyond "financial", but this seems to me a very simple matter. In the beginning was the block chain. Then uses were found, transactions being an early one. Faint hints of other uses started to arise. Some came into common use without anyone really noticing. As often happens with social phenomena, something is all upon us before anyone actually notices. Facebook, an example.

I am suggesting, knowing quite well this is a stretch of TBF's envelope, strictly eliminating "financial" and "currency" and focusing on "all derivative uses of blockchain data". The reason is that this focuses a decision point on that very issue.

Privacy and anonymity in conjunction with blockchain data access and usages have as a subset, financial transactions and storage. Essential to clarify this. TBF may well choose to travel the narrow road of financial only, and therein to tiptoe from kissing one regulator's feet to the next. Or they may take a strong stand and expand that road to a superfreeway. I am not interested in which they do, only in it's clarification. And whether it is restricted to financial. (I think I sent you a proof copy of "Bubble gum" which illustrates non financial blockchain implications in a fugitive from "justice" context).

Maybe that explains where I'm coming from on this?

mdhaze commented Aug 4, 2014

@ABISprotocol My apologies if I am not clear on the "why" of extending beyond "financial", but this seems to me a very simple matter. In the beginning was the block chain. Then uses were found, transactions being an early one. Faint hints of other uses started to arise. Some came into common use without anyone really noticing. As often happens with social phenomena, something is all upon us before anyone actually notices. Facebook, an example.

I am suggesting, knowing quite well this is a stretch of TBF's envelope, strictly eliminating "financial" and "currency" and focusing on "all derivative uses of blockchain data". The reason is that this focuses a decision point on that very issue.

Privacy and anonymity in conjunction with blockchain data access and usages have as a subset, financial transactions and storage. Essential to clarify this. TBF may well choose to travel the narrow road of financial only, and therein to tiptoe from kissing one regulator's feet to the next. Or they may take a strong stand and expand that road to a superfreeway. I am not interested in which they do, only in it's clarification. And whether it is restricted to financial. (I think I sent you a proof copy of "Bubble gum" which illustrates non financial blockchain implications in a fugitive from "justice" context).

Maybe that explains where I'm coming from on this?

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ABISprotocol Aug 4, 2014

@mdhaze Which of the following would you prefer, item 1 as shown below or item 2?

(original text)
"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation and financial privacy when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation and financial privacy."

Item 1 (shows Section 2.2 proposed to be changed as follows)
"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and development of anonymity when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and the opportunity for anonymity development."

Item 2 (another possible way of changing Section 2.2, which includes "all derivative uses of blockchain data" - note the italic emphasis below is added to highlight the area where that phrase would appear. I've also added "and any distributed-digital currency which the Corporation supports through funding" as part of the proposed text below.)
"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and development of anonymity when using such systems and for all derivative uses of blockchain data. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose, and any distributed-digital currency which the Corporation supports through funding, be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and the opportunity for anonymity development."

(Side note. I am leaning towards item 2 above as pull request language in connection with this issue.)

@mdhaze Which of the following would you prefer, item 1 as shown below or item 2?

(original text)
"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation and financial privacy when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation and financial privacy."

Item 1 (shows Section 2.2 proposed to be changed as follows)
"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and development of anonymity when using such systems. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and the opportunity for anonymity development."

Item 2 (another possible way of changing Section 2.2, which includes "all derivative uses of blockchain data" - note the italic emphasis below is added to highlight the area where that phrase would appear. I've also added "and any distributed-digital currency which the Corporation supports through funding" as part of the proposed text below.)
"Section 2.2 The Corporation shall promote and protect both the decentralized, distributed and private nature of the Bitcoin distributed-digital currency and transaction system as well as individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and development of anonymity when using such systems and for all derivative uses of blockchain data. The Corporation shall further require that any distributed-digital currency falling within the ambit of the Corporation's purpose, and any distributed-digital currency which the Corporation supports through funding, be decentralized, distributed and private and that it support individual choice, participation, user-defined privacy, and the opportunity for anonymity development."

(Side note. I am leaning towards item 2 above as pull request language in connection with this issue.)

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mdhaze Aug 4, 2014

2 stands as a definitive and highly pertinent statement.

Some may argue that the paragraph "attempts to do too many things" and "should be split into separate pull requests." I know that a board can do that in discussion, in the matter of a few minutes, and that the greater community neither can or should feel a need to micromanage board decision making.

mdhaze commented Aug 4, 2014

2 stands as a definitive and highly pertinent statement.

Some may argue that the paragraph "attempts to do too many things" and "should be split into separate pull requests." I know that a board can do that in discussion, in the matter of a few minutes, and that the greater community neither can or should feel a need to micromanage board decision making.

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ABISprotocol Aug 4, 2014

@mdhaze I agree with you and I think the best thing is to keep it short and focused on one section, and also it's important to do this without trying to get too lengthy or detailed and certainly not definition-focused with respect to anonymity, as I have no desire to tie the Board's hands on how they interpret it (this responds to your thoughtful mention of the need to avoid micromanaging Board decision-making). I'll do a pull request here shortly based on item 2. Thanks for your guidance as I wouldn't have thought about the "derivative" and other languaging possibilities otherwise.

@mdhaze I agree with you and I think the best thing is to keep it short and focused on one section, and also it's important to do this without trying to get too lengthy or detailed and certainly not definition-focused with respect to anonymity, as I have no desire to tie the Board's hands on how they interpret it (this responds to your thoughtful mention of the need to avoid micromanaging Board decision-making). I'll do a pull request here shortly based on item 2. Thanks for your guidance as I wouldn't have thought about the "derivative" and other languaging possibilities otherwise.

ABISprotocol added a commit to ABISprotocol/The-Bitcoin-Foundation-Legal-Repo that referenced this issue Aug 4, 2014

Update Article II (Purpose): Anonymity and Funding
This pull request is responsive to issue #19 ("Anonymity and Funding").  It is expressly written to minimize change to the Bylaws, provides an additional emphasis on anonymity that was not previously present, while still ensuring that bitcoin in its current, non-anonymous form is expressly supported in the Purpose section.  Where the Corporation "shall promote and protect" aspects of bitcoin use (and use of "such systems,") "all derivative uses of blockchain data" are added to emphasize that the Corporation shall promote and protect the many uses of bitcoin.  Additionally, a reference to "financial privacy" is replaced with "user-defined privacy," emphasizing the vital role of individual choice which is present in the Bylaws.
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bradwheeler Aug 4, 2014

Finally have some time to chime in on this issue on privacy/psuedoanonymity/anonymity tools and the level that we acknowledge them in relation to policy. I see parallels to both "markets" and "code forks" and propose that we address these in a separate document from the bylaws - as I'm sure these may come up in the near future. Thoughts about policy on these subjects my own - the most important point is my proposal for a policy document in the last paragraph.

  • We should acknowledge the ability of tools and schemes to adjust/scale privacy, and that there are many contexts and examples of data privacy being important to human freedom and dignity. Also acknowledge that some data markets/ economies thrive in asymmetric/selective conditions (for better/ for worse) and that control of these parameters is crucial to building participatory crypto networks to facilitate and study economic behavior.
  • We should clarify that "markets" are phenomena that emerge from cryptocurrency networks such as bitcoin. They may be financial or not. These systems are just data chains until a valuation event "nucleates" within the marketplace.
  • Though the name of the organization is Bitcoin Foundation, we should not discriminate against code forks/ altcoins or other derivative works by default (though our grant process limits funding of these projects, presumably to prioritize the main network). Alternate chains hold great hope for our users to extend and/or scale in the future.
  • Because public ledger systems such as bitcoin are participatory and the codebase is open source, any work and advocacy on BF's part does not solely represent the community. Other stakeholders will have routine differences in opinion - for that matter even membership will never agree on issues not discussed.

I propose that we direct "the organization" to start a "policy document" that states language about organizational goals more centrally / cohesively for the benefit of reviewers here and the membership at large. This can be separate from the mission statement in the bylaws. My thought is that governance documents about rights, rules, and responsibilities (the legal/contractual stuff) should be separated from discussions on policy goals for the readers benefit. Additionally, a separate policy document doesn't necessarily have to go through same bylaw board approval process if we were to all agree to a separate process for ratifying such a policy document.

Finally have some time to chime in on this issue on privacy/psuedoanonymity/anonymity tools and the level that we acknowledge them in relation to policy. I see parallels to both "markets" and "code forks" and propose that we address these in a separate document from the bylaws - as I'm sure these may come up in the near future. Thoughts about policy on these subjects my own - the most important point is my proposal for a policy document in the last paragraph.

  • We should acknowledge the ability of tools and schemes to adjust/scale privacy, and that there are many contexts and examples of data privacy being important to human freedom and dignity. Also acknowledge that some data markets/ economies thrive in asymmetric/selective conditions (for better/ for worse) and that control of these parameters is crucial to building participatory crypto networks to facilitate and study economic behavior.
  • We should clarify that "markets" are phenomena that emerge from cryptocurrency networks such as bitcoin. They may be financial or not. These systems are just data chains until a valuation event "nucleates" within the marketplace.
  • Though the name of the organization is Bitcoin Foundation, we should not discriminate against code forks/ altcoins or other derivative works by default (though our grant process limits funding of these projects, presumably to prioritize the main network). Alternate chains hold great hope for our users to extend and/or scale in the future.
  • Because public ledger systems such as bitcoin are participatory and the codebase is open source, any work and advocacy on BF's part does not solely represent the community. Other stakeholders will have routine differences in opinion - for that matter even membership will never agree on issues not discussed.

I propose that we direct "the organization" to start a "policy document" that states language about organizational goals more centrally / cohesively for the benefit of reviewers here and the membership at large. This can be separate from the mission statement in the bylaws. My thought is that governance documents about rights, rules, and responsibilities (the legal/contractual stuff) should be separated from discussions on policy goals for the readers benefit. Additionally, a separate policy document doesn't necessarily have to go through same bylaw board approval process if we were to all agree to a separate process for ratifying such a policy document.

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ABISprotocol Aug 4, 2014

Hello @bradwheeler, I've just submitted a pull request in connection with this issue. If it's adopted (in its current form or if the Board adopts a modified version of it), then I foresee that the Board would likely go on to adopt resolutions and/or policy statements that would clarify how the Board would, in its discretion, implement its Purpose, post-Bylaw-change.

Hello @bradwheeler, I've just submitted a pull request in connection with this issue. If it's adopted (in its current form or if the Board adopts a modified version of it), then I foresee that the Board would likely go on to adopt resolutions and/or policy statements that would clarify how the Board would, in its discretion, implement its Purpose, post-Bylaw-change.

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bradwheeler Aug 4, 2014

Cheers @ABISprotocol. That's fine - I only offered this up as a suggestion to the process. We can move this discussion to another issue if it makes more sense.

Cheers @ABISprotocol. That's fine - I only offered this up as a suggestion to the process. We can move this discussion to another issue if it makes more sense.

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ABISprotocol Aug 4, 2014

@bradwheeler I agree with your proposed approach either as another issue or here in this issue, however you wish to begin that process. I'm sensing that it may make sense for the Board to adopt resolutions or policy documents (if the Board desires to do so) after first voting on the pull request that proposes to change Article II (Purpose) -- #23 -- but one hopes that Board discussions on this would occur sooner rather than later. Cheers

@bradwheeler I agree with your proposed approach either as another issue or here in this issue, however you wish to begin that process. I'm sensing that it may make sense for the Board to adopt resolutions or policy documents (if the Board desires to do so) after first voting on the pull request that proposes to change Article II (Purpose) -- #23 -- but one hopes that Board discussions on this would occur sooner rather than later. Cheers

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mdhaze Aug 4, 2014

@bradwheeler said...

.... propose that we address these in a separate document from the bylaws...

Heard loud and clear Brad, but I want to see a specific decision of the BF board on this matter, as I believe quite a few people would; further, such a thing that would direct their behavior, which is why, actually, it here be.

I guess I am of the opinion that these concepts, concisely summarized, are truly fundamental concepts and issues, and must be included, or excluded in a statement of purpose. To put it bluntly, is it fair to say they may have been simply overlooked?

Again, and to put it bluntly. Example? Some of us don't want privacy relegated to a third paragraph frag in an obscure thing in a three ring binder somewhere. Or anonymity. Or non-financial transactions. And basically that's what you've proposed.

And that means the Lords of Manhattan win, and you and I lose.

mdhaze commented Aug 4, 2014

@bradwheeler said...

.... propose that we address these in a separate document from the bylaws...

Heard loud and clear Brad, but I want to see a specific decision of the BF board on this matter, as I believe quite a few people would; further, such a thing that would direct their behavior, which is why, actually, it here be.

I guess I am of the opinion that these concepts, concisely summarized, are truly fundamental concepts and issues, and must be included, or excluded in a statement of purpose. To put it bluntly, is it fair to say they may have been simply overlooked?

Again, and to put it bluntly. Example? Some of us don't want privacy relegated to a third paragraph frag in an obscure thing in a three ring binder somewhere. Or anonymity. Or non-financial transactions. And basically that's what you've proposed.

And that means the Lords of Manhattan win, and you and I lose.

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David-R-Allen Aug 5, 2014

I would like to go on record as being supportive of the directions taken in this discussion.

I would like to go on record as being supportive of the directions taken in this discussion.

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@David-R-Allen Thank you.

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ABISprotocol Oct 11, 2014

For those tracking this discussion, I am looking forward to seeing the results of the final Board vote on pull request #23 ('Anonymity and Funding') ~ which I understand will occur on October 13, 2014. More details can be also found somewhere near the end of the (rather long) Bitcoin Foundation forum thread which was established for members to provide agenda requests.

For those tracking this discussion, I am looking forward to seeing the results of the final Board vote on pull request #23 ('Anonymity and Funding') ~ which I understand will occur on October 13, 2014. More details can be also found somewhere near the end of the (rather long) Bitcoin Foundation forum thread which was established for members to provide agenda requests.

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ABISprotocol Oct 22, 2014

Waiting for information from @pmlaw on whether or not pull request #23 went to final vote on Oct. 13, 2014. If not, am anticipating that it will be heard on the next Board meeting (which I think is Nov. 10th, as that's the second Monday in November). Hoping to receive some clarification from Patrick on this.

Waiting for information from @pmlaw on whether or not pull request #23 went to final vote on Oct. 13, 2014. If not, am anticipating that it will be heard on the next Board meeting (which I think is Nov. 10th, as that's the second Monday in November). Hoping to receive some clarification from Patrick on this.

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ABISprotocol Dec 5, 2015

Although no action was taken on this in 2014, there is now possibility that this will go to vote in 2015 or early 2016. See recent discussion on this under pull request #23 ~ cc: @BruceFenton

Although no action was taken on this in 2014, there is now possibility that this will go to vote in 2015 or early 2016. See recent discussion on this under pull request #23 ~ cc: @BruceFenton

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