The conflict-riven Tezos Foundation has appointed a third board member to manage the $1 billion+ stockpile of public contributions for the blockchain technology project. Lars Haussmann, a specialist trustee, will replace Guido Schmitz-Krummacher, who departed under a cloud in December.
Foundation president Johann Gevers has been locked in a bitter feud with the inventors of the Tezos technology, Arthur and Kathleen Breitman since last autumn. The dispute has stalled the project at least by two months and created a fracture between the foundation and its core developers.
The Swiss Foundation Supervisory Authority had given the Tezos Foundation until the end of this month to find a replacement for Schmitz-Krummacher and restore the three-person directorship panel to full strength. Failure could have resulted in the supervisor taking control of the foundation.
In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, the foundation said the decision to appoint Haussmann had been unanimous – the one ray of light that divisions may be healing.
“The Board will now focus on setting up operational systems and organizational arrangements for the Foundation, including updating its administrative and accounting processes,” the statement read. “These steps will allow the Board to further the Foundation's central mission, the development and promotion of the overall Tezos ecosystem.”
The news received a muted reaction from the Tezos Community, a group of Tezos investors and enthusiasts that had previously launched an online petition calling for Gevers's resignation.
"Appointing an administrative caretaker to the Tezos board is certainly better than the previous impasse," said Tezos Community spokesman Jonas Lamis. "Johann Gevers should now follow through on his recent commitment made in his Medium post [see below] to resign from the board so that he is no longer a distraction in moving the Tezos network forward."
Tezos arrived with much fanfare last Spring raising well in excess of $200 million from public contributions during its initial coin offering. Whilst blockchain technology has been heralded as the biggest thing since the creation of the internet, the rise of the crypto assets that use it has been pockmarked with several disagreements, resulting in splits in the communities that support one token or another.
Tezos aimed to reduce the risk of this so-called “hard forking” by implementing a more democratic means of deciding how to move the technology ahead among communities. The irony is that the leadership of the Tezos movement should break down in such an acrimonious way.
Gevers back seat?
The dispute, including claims of bonus manipulation, remains unresolved despite the appointment of a new director to the Tezos Foundation. In recent weeks, Johann Gevers had sent out a number of tweets and one Medium blog (since deleted) that contained mixed messages.
On the one hand, Gevers said that the foundation had regained control of its destiny, which would bring the project forward for the benefit of all. But he couldn’t resist several ill-disguised sideswipes at his opponents, accusing them of “interference, obstructions and attacks”.
The result, according to Gevers, has been the freezing of financial services by banks leading to an inability to use foundation assets to fund the development of the technology.
Gevers has stated plans to create an executive board to handle the day-to-day running of the foundation’s responsibilities, with a strong Swiss emphasis. He has also indicated a willingness to take a back seat once the foundation is fully operational.
Earlier this month, social media community channels were filled with stories about how some board member applicants had been turned down, including one of Tezos’s major financial contributors, hedge fund manager Olaf Carlson-Wee.
Neither Carlson-Wee or the Breitmans have yet responded to requests for comments on the appointment of Haussmann.