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According to a survey conducted by OkCoin, a large majority of Bitcoiners care about helping fund Bitcoin development.
The development of Bitcoin, to those unaware, can seem like a mysterious machine acting behind hidden curtains. Not unlike the Wizard of Oz, hidden behind all of the smoke and fire are normal human beings dedicating their lives to improving the network which we so cherish.
In a recent ebook done in partnership with Brink and OpenSats, bitcoin exchange OkCoin conducted a survey in which “Most respondents of our poll were unaware of the lack of funding for Bitcoin developers… Once aware, a majority of them became in favour of supporting development.”
The results indicated that 85% of respondents care about their bitcoin exchange funding development, 69% would like their exchange to provide yearly grants, and 25% would like their exchange to match contributions to developers.
Many do not know how Bitcoin’s development is funded, and yet Bitcoiners are ready and willing to support this development once known. How could they not, given all the incredible progress we’ve experienced so far.
Bitcoin’s development is a product of forum posts and IRC chats, an open source community of progress that is as decentralized as the protocol. Since this is true, the funding for such development has been relatively inconsistent. Recently, along with the increase in the price of bitcoin, there has been a push for increased exposure for bitcoin developer funding, and some exchanges and nonprofits have begun their own action.
The ebook lists examples such as OkCoin, who “has contributed $1,000,000 in funding directly to Bitcoin developers or to nonprofits supporting Bitcoin developers to date,” via an Open Source Developer Grant, and nonprofits like Brink which, “have supported six Bitcoin developers and have $3 million pledged for fellowships and grants.”
Also mentioned are aggregations in which those looking to contribute can find ways to donate to developers. These include Bitcoin Donation Portal, a portal designed to connect donors to developers, BitcoinACKS, a “bounty” board for developers, and Github Sponsors, an open source contribution portal.
All in all, the development of the trillion dollar network relies on a small group of people. In a way, the support we offer them is a mirror of our belief in the ability of the network to persist. While development may seem “expensive” at times, there can be no amount of bitcoin too much to spend on the improvement of the network.
Brink, a nonprofit designed to offer financial support and mentorship to Bitcoin developers, has announced the recipients of its first round of open-source developer grants. It will be supporting Jesse Posner’s work on adaptor signatures and the FROST threshold signature scheme, Alekos Filini’s work on the Bitcoin Developer Kit and Hennadii Stepanov’s work on Bitcoin Core development and review.
“After an open grant application process, the Brink board of directors has selected three developers who have demonstrated continued commitment to open-source Bitcoin protocol development,” according to a release shared with Bitcoin Magazine. “Their work spans fundamental cryptographic engineering, application tooling and base layer development and maintenance.”
Adaptor signatures and FROST are meant to bring additional security, privacy and functionality to multisignature and second-layer protocols on Bitcoin. Posner’s grant was made possible by digital asset financial services company Nexo.
The Bitcoin Developer Kit is meant to provide modular and easy-to-leverage tools for Bitcoin wallets and other applications and the funding will support Filini’s role as its maintainer.
Over three years of work, Stepanov has become one of the most active contributors to Bitcoin Core and the funding will allow him to focus on the project full time.
Brink was launched last year by developers John Newbery and Mike Schmidt. Its first fellowship was awarded to Gloria Zhao in December 2020 to support her work on package relay for Bitcoin mempools.
Lending and borrowing platform Nexo is providing crucial support for Bitcoin development and mentoring.
The popular crypto bank Nexo has pledged $150,000 to Brink, a nonprofit organization focused on strengthening the Bitcoin protocol. Antoni Trenchev, co-founder and managing partner of Nexo, said of the donation:
“The $150,000 donation to Brink marks Nexo’s commitment to open-source funding and supporting Bitcoin, the original cryptocurrency that spawned a trillion-dollar industry.”
Trenchev went on to say that he thinks “the industry should do more” to support Bitcoin itself, pointing out that few businesses outside of exchanges contribute to the protocol’s development. He specifically alluded to public companies like MicroStrategy and Tesla that have recently allocated Bitcoin holdings. He said:
“What if some of the public companies that recently started allocating billions to BTC also put a small percentage of that, say 0.25%, in support of Bitcoin development?”
The $150,000 sum matches or exceeds previous donations Brink received from Square, Gemini, Kraken, and the Human Rights Foundation. It will go towards programs providing financial support for Bitcoin developers and researchers. They include the Brink fellowship program, which aims to bring talented developers to work on Bitcoin development, and a grants program that supports Bitcoin Core contributors.
The funds will drop sometime this month and initially support an independent developer via the Grants program.
Brink co-founder and executive director John Newbery spoke of his enthusiasm for Nexo’s contribution. He said:
“Bitcoin’s security depends on the experience and dedication of open source protocol developers. Brink was built with the exact purpose of helping individuals and companies support independent Bitcoin development, and we always welcome more contributions to this cause.”
Nexo is one of crypto’s leading asset management firms. It handles more than $5 billion worth of digital assets for over 1 million users.
Disclosure: Nexo is a sponsor of Crypto Briefing. This article was commissioned independent of that relationship.
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Earlier today, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced a partnership with hip-hop mogul and billionaire Sean Carter, aka Jay-Z, to create a Bitcoin development endowment focused initially on teams in India and Africa.
The endowment will be called the “₿trust” and the pair will be bootstrapping it with 500 bitcoin, currently valued at more than $23 million. ₿trust is currently recruiting three board members, which Dorsey is soliciting through the relatively informal platform Google Forms.
The board member application has a simple message at the top: “mission: make bitcoin the internet’s currency.” It can be filled pseudonymously and it asks candidates to simply submit a freeform written description of their credentials, under a field titled “proof of work.”
While details still remain scarce, one important factor to note at this point is that the endowment is being set up as a blind, irrevocable trust. In other words, Dorsey and Carter will have no say in how the endowment operates.
The fact that this investment is focused partially on Africa should not come as a surprise, as Dorsey has visited the continent several times, even making public plans to move to Africa in 2020, before the world was brought to a halt by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dorsey’s digital payments company, Square, has also worked to fuel Bitcoin development with grants through its cryptocurrency-focused division, Square Crypto.
A kid in Singapore with a neighbor who is cultivating a Japanese Garden is a rarity, though that’s what I was.
In Singapore, a tiny island nation, land is scarce and more than 80 percent of the population lives in simple highrises without balconies, let alone gardens. Thus, from early on, the value of scarcity is ingrained in Singaporeans and likely a main reason why Bitcoin adoption is high and regulation non-restrictive there. Growing up and learning about Japanese gardens, however, brought me an additional appreciation for Bitcoin.
At the heart of the Japanese garden is the principle of reflection upon nature. The garden is not created to appear beautiful, but rather is intended to merge into its surroundings and be soothing, even calming to the visitor — just as nature does not overwhelm but rather pleases. For my neighbor, tending to his garden was a labor of love — never ending, never complete — that kept him mentally and physically engaged. Even when persuaded to sell his house and garden for lofty Singaporean prices, he wouldn’t let go of it. His little Japanese garden in a bustling metropolis was part of something bigger, that was worth caring for into old age and not to be parted with for money.
This sense of being part of something bigger is something I, and likely many who are reading this, have experienced when being involved in Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the future of money and money is elemental in our world. Money is innately human, connects us and allows us to trade and work together — it allows us to grow. Similarly to a Japanese garden, the work on Bitcoin is never ending. Being bogged down by the intricacies of daily work and life, it is easy to lose track of this grand vision of a new money but it is important to remember from time to time. Like a garden embedded in its environment, Bitcoin is embedded in the world as part of something bigger.
But this is not the only parallel between Bitcoin and the art of Japanese garden maintenance.
When tending to a Japanese garden, the process and tools are essential as they allow the gardener to realize their vision and execute their efforts as meticulously as possible. A gardener would very deliberately decide what changes to enact in their garden and what tools to use to further enhance it while not negatively impacting its existing scenes. The small river bed might need to be cleaned, the sand needs to be forked and stones placed to complement a new river bend. Enhancing the scenery without destroying existing structures, planting trees to provide shade in a few years, is part of the art of gardening, allowing the present version to be pleasant while working toward an even better future version.
The similarities to Bitcoin development are obvious. For Bitcoin to allow users to preserve their wealth, it is imperative that developers use the right tools to further develop the protocol and to be scrupulous in deciding, as a community, on meaningful features to implement. A thoughtful, continuous approach of carefully tending to the codebase is needed, rather than the short-sighted, “move-fast-and-break-things” approach prevalent in Silicon Valley and other cryptocurrency projects.
Reviewing changes becomes more important than developing new features, assuring backwards compatibility is essential to allow the ecosystem to thrive. Building tools for developers to be more efficient in their work and designing better user experiences becomes as important as direct protocol development, all with the common goal of a better monetary future.
And then, there is the discovery feature. Small Japanese gardens like my neighbor’s are observed from a certain viewpoint, a porch or a patch of grass, from where one ponders the whole garden as a zen-like experience. Bigger gardens are to be discovered, like the official Japanese garden in Singapore. It is big in size and has to be walked, ideally slowly, to notice all of the details while the garden enfolds itself before your eyes, allowing you to enjoy its tranquility all around you.
Bitcoin is clearly a discovery garden, impossible to catch with one glimpse. Everyone who has fallen down the rabbit hole remembers the moments of excitement, or even enlightenment, when a new piece of the puzzle fell into place. For me, it was the difficulty adjustment, for others it might be the hard cap or running your first full node.
Whatever it is, I offer you to open your perspective and try to see Bitcoin from a different view whenever things might seem to go off track — take a step back and think of a Japanese garden. Bitcoin needs to be observed and tended to, to fulfil its purpose. There is a lot of work to be done and a lot of adversities to overcome. But, in a world seemingly gone mad, Bitcoin can be a place of tranquility and hope, a recluse from the world that allows us to build something better. Bitcoin can be a Japanese garden — to me, it is.
This is a guest post by Polylunar. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.