The Bitcoin Foundation was announced last September, with the goal of helping “people exchange resources and ideas more freely with the objective to promote, protect, and standardize the use of bitcoin”. Founding members included Mark Karpeles, owner of Mt. Gox; Peter Vessenes, CEO of CoinLabs; Charlie Shrem, CEO of BitInstant; Gavin Andresen, Bitcoin lead developer; Jon Matonis, who is on the Editorial Board of Bitcoin Magazine; and Patrick Murck, of Engage Legal.
Some members of the Bitcoin community were not thrilled at the idea of the Foundation, feeling that it represented too much control of Bitcoin in one place. Bitcoin is mean to be uncontrollable by any one organization, but it’s certainly possible to see how the founding members control a large piece of the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Below is a network diagram of the Bitcoin Foundation, including it’s founding members, Platinum & Silver business members, and a few other key players. You can click on the image for a larger view.
The Board of the Bitcoin Foundation has 5 seats, currently taken by the Foundation’s founders. It is broken down into two seats for the Individual member class, two seats for Corporation class, and one seat for the Founders.
The Corporation class is broken down into Platinum, Gold, and Silver levels. The Platinum group gets one of the Corporate seats, and the Gold and Silver level members get the other one. Platinum members pay 10,000 BTC per year (or about $720,000 based on the current exchange rate). Gold level members pay 2,500 per year ( about $180,000). The dues for Silver level members vary depending on the number of employees in the company, but you can see the breakdown here.
Individual members pay 2.5 BTC per year, or 25 BTC for a lifetime membership. Founders dues are 10 BTC per year.
The Bitcoin Foundation will be holding it’s first conference this May, in San Jose, California.