The ongoing Tezos Foundation row is severely testing the patience of investors and developers working to get the project up and running. The foundation sits on a stockpile of assets worth more than $1 billion. Complaints are mounting that these assets are not being deployed at the coal face.
This irritation is playing out alongside the ongoing feudexternal link between Tezos founders, Arthur and Kathleen Breitman, and the foundation’s president Johann Gevers. On December 4, a group calling themselves the Tezos Community launched a petitionexternal link calling for Gevers to be removed from his post. It has now been signed by more than 1,400 people.
Tezos Community spokesman Jonas Lamis insists he is not formally connected with the Breitmans or their company Dynamic Ledger Solutions (DLS), although the community has clearly sided with the Breitmans in the dispute. The petition, he says, was partly motivated by the Gevers bonus row, but mainly from seeing no concrete progress from the foundation since Tezos ICO funds were transferred to the Zug-based entity in the summer.
One person to sign the petition is Mike Monohan, who is developing a protocol called MyCryptoDelegate to allow Tezos users to delegate their rights to mine (or bake) tokens to third parties. Monohan says his efforts to contact the foundation for support and funding were met with silence.
“I am extremely active in the Tezos Community and I have never seen the Foundation involved in any meaningful way,” he told swissinfo.ch. “This has caused me to lose all faith and trust that the Tezos Foundation, in its current form, has any real desire to develop Tezos or foster a healthy community.”
“Leadership changes must be made now to realign the Foundation so it can achieve its original mandate.”
The Tezos Community petition has also been signed by Olaf Carlson-Wee, founder of the US Polychain Capital hedge fund that has invested heavily in Tezos. Carlson-Wee has put himself forward as a candidate to fill a vacant directorship postexternal link at the foundation. The fast-moving world of blockchain technology, in which Polychain specialises, demands the rapid deployment of capital, he told swissinfo.ch.
“By far the most important issue is that the Tezos Foundation has not been efficiently allocating resources and capital to developing the Tezos infrastructure,” he said during a telephone interview. “In my opinion, there has been an absurdly slow deployment of capital. It should have been allocated months ago.”
In August, the foundation stated: “We are extremely pleased to announce a commitment of $50 million in funding to companies looking to build on the Tezos platform. The innovation and growth of the ecosystem is the top priority of the Tezos Foundation.”
In September, the foundation listed a number of measures it was taking to meet that target. Once the bitter row went public, those statements dried up. Repeated attempts by swissinfo.ch to get an update on those statements and to determine the size of funds that have actually been allocated to development projects have not been answered by the foundation.
In the meantime, Arthur Breitman has been travelling extensively with the message that Tezos developers continue to work despite the inactivity of the foundation.
Schmitz-Krummacher steps down
Tezos Community has now stepped up its campaign following the recent resignation of foundation director Guido Schmitz-Krummacher and the collapse of Gevers’s blockchain payments company Monetas. Among other demands, it wants an audit examining allegations against Gevers to be made public.
Since he stepped down, Schmitz-Krummacher has been active on social media channels. He suggests that the foundation dispute has so spooked banks that they are now going slow on clearing funds for release to developers. However, goodwill towards Schmitz-Krummacher on those same forums, at in the Tezos Community, is at a premium.
The latest Tezos Community statementexternal link also includes quotes from an anonymous former Monetas employee who expresses numerous complaints against Gevers.
Swissinfo.ch has also spoken to several former Monetas employees or investors. Goodwill towards the founder of the now defunct Monetas is practically non-existent.
“When the issues were confined to Monetas I did not see the need to come forward,” said one person who was once highly placed at the Zug-based company. “But after hearing about the situation at the Tezos Foundation, I had an awful feeling of déjà-vu. I fear that Johann could poison the whole ecosystem with a reverse Midas touch.”
Gevers has failed to respond to requests for comment from swissinfo.ch.