Bruce Fenton, once a Morgan Stanley stockbroker, has just been appointed executive director, according to the foundation's blog, replacing Patrick Murck, who was interim executive director.

The foundation faces financial problems linked to the drop in the value of its bitcoin holdings. 

Who will oversee the development of digital currencies? Image: iStock/Tim Arbaev
Who will oversee the development of digital currencies? Image: iStock/Tim Arbaev

"I'm confident that we can run a lean and effective foundation and run at a budget surplus by using our resources carefully," Fenton said via email, adding he has not had a chance to review the foundation's assets in detail yet.

"I'd also like to see us use more decentralized tools like crowdfunding," Fenton said. Crowdfunding can be a creative way for members to support the projects they care about, he added.

He also stressed the need for feedback and engagement from corporate and individual members of the foundation.

Fenton, founder of investment firm Atlantic Financial in Massachusetts, worked at Morgan Stanley in the 1990s, specializing in emerging technologies. He is a member of the Bitcoin Association, another bitcoin promotion group, and has organized the Dubai Bitcoin Conference and advised bitcoin startups.

Fenton takes the helm of an organization marked by controversy. His appointment follows the rejection of board member Olivier Janssens' claim that it is effectively bankrupt.

Among its founding members are Charlie Shrem, who pleaded guilty to transmitting money linked to the Silk Road online drugs site, and Mark Karpeles, who presided over the collapse of MtGox, once the world's largest trading place for bitcoin. Board members have quit in frustration or spoken out against the foundation.