Bitcoin Developer Fund Brink Is Granted Tax-Exempt Status

Donations to the Brink open-source development fund are now tax exempt for U.S. donors.

Founded and directed by Bitcoin Core contributor John Newbery, Brink provides grants to Bitcoin developers who work on its open-source tech stack. Now, it has secured 501(c)(3) status from the Internal Revenue Service, meaning any U.S. taxpayer donating to the fund can receive a tax break contributing to the fund.

Donors who have already made contributions can retroactively apply the tax break as well, Brink’s blog post reads.

“Brink was started with a simple mission: Strengthen Bitcoin by Supporting Bitcoin Developers. Critical to that mission is our ability to raise money to fund our grant and fellowship programs.

“Making the organization as tax efficient as possible ensures that donors’ funds are used to the maximum possible benefit of the mission…Furthermore, donations of long-term appreciated assets like Bitcoin generally don’t incur capital gains tax and can be claimed as an income tax deduction for the full fair-market value,” the blog post reads.

Brink applied for the exemption on the grounds that it is conducting research, providing education and funding public infrastructure (Bitcoin).

Launched in September of 2020, Brink has partnered with other primary players in the Bitcoin development grant space like Square Crypto, the Human Rights Organization, Kraken and Gemini. Brink’s first grant recipient, Bitcoin Core contributor Gloria Zhou, is working on optimizing how Bitcoin’s mempools (the global holding tanks for transactions) send and store data.



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Longtime Bitcoin Developer Jonas Schnelli Receives Open-Source Grant

Marathon Patent Group (MARA) announced Thursday it will bankroll the work of Bitcoin Core developer Jonas Schnelli. Previously, Bitmain funded Schnelli’s work before nixing the grant last year.

“As one of the largest bitcoin mining firms, we believe it is essential that we do our part to help advance the Bitcoin network. Absent core developers like Jonas, Bitcoin’s efficacy and long-term adoption, and therefore our business, could be impacted. This grant will allow Jonas to continue his important work on our collective behalf,” Merrick Okamoto, Marathon’s chairman and CEO, said in a press release.

The funding is crucial for an open-source project like Bitcoin that has no company or central entity backing it, and it’s coming from a grassroots movement of Bitcoin companies following each other’s leads to give back part of their profits to the developer community.

Schnelli has been contributing to Bitcoin Core since 2013 and his 516 commits make him the the ninth most active developer on the Bitcoin Core code. Along with his work on the Bitcoin source code, he has created a code library for creating Bitcoin applications in the C coding language and helped design the BitBox hardware wallet.

In addition to this grant, Schnelli also has 55 individual sponsors on GitHub.

Another Bitcoin developer, João Barbosa, had his funding from Bitmain revoked at the same time as Schnelli, but Barbosa bounced back at the end of 2020 when he received one of Coinbase’s first Crypto Community Fund grants.

Schnelli and Barbosa’s are not in an unheard of scenario. 

Before last year, most all open-source developers in Bitcoin volunteered their time to work on the Bitcoin software and protocol. Others were lucky enough to be hired by a well-capitalized firm like Blockstream or Chaincode Labs, but most never received compensation for their work.



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Coinbase Awards Its First Round of Bitcoin Developer Grants

Coinbase has revealed the inaugural recipients of its Crypto Community Fund developer grants. First announced in October, the fund was established to support Bitcoin developers in their work on projects that support the cryptocurrency’s underlying technology.

Coinbase said 0xB10C, the creator of, will work on a software fork visualizer on Bitcoin’s Signet test network, a tool which could be used to monitor updates of the Bitcoin software (and which may prove useful in light of Bitcoin’s Taproot upgrade). They will also continue to publish research and work on Bitcoin code review.

Barbosa, who only just recently lost his funding from mining company Bitmain, will work on a user interface for Bitcoin Core that will allow its users to access advanced functions without having to use the command line – a coding interface that allows you to talk to your computer to make it interact with applications in the form of text lines. 

Additionally, the advisory board chose Barbosa because they “value [his] previous work on code reviewing, and wanted to ensure he could continue in the future,” the release said.

“I’m very fortunate to keep contributing to the project on a regular basis. I hope to be up to the task for one more year,” Barbosa told CoinDesk.

Barbosa, along with a handful of other Bitcoin developers, recently had funding cut off from Bitcoin mining behemoth Bitmain.

As evidenced by Barbosa hopping from one grant to another, open-source work is fraught with financial uncertainty, and even the best Bitcoin developers may be funded for their work only partially or not at all. 

For much of Bitcoin’s history, its developers have worked as volunteers to maintain and improve Bitcoin’s code. Some companies including Blockstream and Chaincode, among others, have funded Bitcoin Core development since before 2017, but it hasn’t been until Bitcoin’s latest time in the limelight that other companies and organizations have upped their efforts to dole out grants.



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