The Bitcoin Foundation has “unanimously” voted for Llew Claasen to be its new Executive Director, replacing the incumbent Bruce Fenton.
Foundation ‘In a Great Position’
Claasen’s appointment was agreed at a vote June 14, the Foundation said in a press release issued today. Members of the board unanimously voted for Claasen to take on the role, with the exception of Vinny Lingham, who abstained due to a “long business relationship and friendship” with him.
Speaking in the press release, Fenton, who is credited with reversing the Foundation’s poor finances in recent months, said Claasen’s skills were “exactly what is needed now.”
“The foundation is in a great position and in great hands,” he said. “I look forward to supporting Llew however I can in this exciting new chapter.”
Fenton will remain a Bitcoin Foundation board member. On Facebook, he was more candid in his praise of Claasen.
“In other words, we took a lemon, kicked it’s [sic] ass into lemonade and now are turning it over to a chef. Let’s do this,” he wrote.
Claasen himself has thus far been little known in the Bitcoin space and related sectors. A venture capitalist and angel investor based in South Africa, he has focused on bringing startups to market via his firm Newtown Partners.
Speaking to Bitcoin.com, Fenton said Claasen’s location was “a huge benefit”.
“Not only does this open up easier direct lines to all the countries in Africa, it further broadens the foundation’s geographic footprint,” he said. “Bitcoin is global so we should look to the whole world for ways we can help further this tech.”
Claasen meanwhile was predictably buoyant about the prospect of heading up the Foundation in the current climate:
“There is an amazing opportunity for the organization to help the Bitcoin ecosystem,” he said. “In the coming weeks I’ll be working closely with the board, membership, transition team and various stakeholders to create the best plan for success possible.”
Reactions to Fenton’s official departure depicted broad admiration, with a hitherto notable absence of criticism of the Foundation’s choice of new executive director.
“I felt that the Bitcoin Foundation was far too damaged in many ways for anyone to be effective at making it a positive force for Bitcoin,” Factom creator Paul Snow wrote on Reddit in response to a post by Fenton.
“I want to say I am amazed that I was so wrong,” Snow continued. “You have done a great job at reorganizing the Bitcoin Foundation in the face of surprisingly hostile anger and opposition.”
Snow added that “the job of making the Foundation something the community can truly be proud of is far, far from complete.”
Fenton’s departure comes after Board Chairman Brock Pierce secured a last-minute 146 BTC funding deal from BitClub in May. At the same time, however, it was revealed that only “a few months” of funding remained available, and it is likely that the long-term financial question will be top priority for Claasen in the first months of his leadership.
Nonetheless, Fenton remained upbeat:
“I depart with the foundation not only having paid off its debts but with more capital than when I started,” he said. “We now leave this particular position in qualified hands and think that Llew will not only continue the momentum of the turnaround but firmly believe he will do an even better job than I did.”
What do you think about the new Executive Director of the Bitcoin Foundation? Let us know in the comments below!
June 20, 2016, 4:50 PM EST: This article has been updated to include a statement from Bruce Fenton.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoin Foundation.
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