Gevers stokes fires of Tezos Foundation dispute


Gevers was in no mood to make peace at the Crypto Finance Conference Keystone

Anyone who harboured hopes that the Tezos Foundation row might be thawing were disabused of this notion at a Cryto Finance Conference in St Moritz, Switzerland. Foundation president Johann Gevers used the platform to launch a thinly-veiled attack on Tezos founders Arthur and Kathleen Breitman.

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While he refrained from mentioning anyone by name during his address on “ICO Best Practices”, Gevers left little to the imagination with his message.

Marc Bettinger

“In its focus on creating a technology for governance the Tezos project overlooked the critical importance of people,” read one of his presentation slides, which went on to attack “all approaches that ignore the fundamentally complex, dynamic, holistic nature of reality, and use simplistic, static, reductionist methods.”

“Without maturity and impulse control, we cannot act wisely,” read another slogan.

Gevers has been embroiled in a bitter personal dispute with the Breitmans for most of the Tezos Foundation’s life span. The row went public in October with Arthur Breitman accusing Gevers of “an attempt at self-dealing, misrepresenting to the council the value of a bonus he attempted to grant himself” whilst slamming the foundation for falling behind in its mandate of funding the development of the project.

Multiple accusations

Gevers denies the charges and has in turn accused Breitman of spreading lies and conducting a smear compaign against his “impeccable integrity”.

Tezos launched with much fanfare last summer, which ironically promised to produce a new system of democratic blockchain governance that would solve differences of opinion without the need for opposing sides to shear off into separate factions.

The idea persuaded people to contribute $232 million ($243 million) in the form of cryptocurrencies in the space of a few days. These funds were then transferred to the Zug-based Tezos Foundation, set up in July to continue funding the project whilst creating some distance between the Breitmans, their company Dynamic Ledger Solutions, and the assets raised from the public.

The dramatic rise in the value of cryptocurrencies since then has swelled that pot to more than $1 billion, but the row appears to have frozen the flow of funds to developers.

Gap to fill

The Tezos Foundation row has already claimed the scalp on one of its three directors, Guido Schmitz-Krummacher, who walked away in December. The Swiss Foundation Supervisory Authority has given the foundation until the end of the month to find a successor.

In theory, the supervisory authority has the power to revoke board decisions, issue criminal complaints, or in extreme cases, remove board members.

Kathleen Breitman also gave an earlier address at the same conference in St Moritz but did not refer specifically to the row other than to say the foundation is responsible for issuing “Tezzie” tokens to people who put their money into the project.

Investors and developers trying to create applications for the Tezos platform have increasingly expressed their anger on social media channels about the dispute and the delays it has caused. The platform was initially expected to be online by the end of last year, but this has been put back to next month. But with the row still in full swing, chat rooms have speculated that even this date looks in doubt.

In the meantime, lawyers in the United States have been sharpening their knives with a series of class-action lawsuits directed at several of the Tezos main players.

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