Corporate performance reviews are anathema to open-source contributors, especially in Bitcoin. For many who have suffered from corporate constraints, being your own boss is a goal in itself. But I’ve observed this freedom can bring all sort of unanticipated effects as well.
I’ve fielded a lot of questions about our plans for the Chaincode residency. While an in-person program isn’t a great fit for the times, we have no plans to move it online because we felt we’d lose too many essential components that made the program special.
Working in education affords me the opportunity to meet lots of prospective contributors who are eager to contribute to Bitcoin. In Working in Public, Nadia Eghbal does an excellent job describing the dynamics of large-scale open-source projects and Bitcoin Core suffers from many of the challenges and extractive contributions captured in the book. Recently, I was talking with Jarol, an up-and-coming prospect, on how to add value to the project. It’s a natural first reaction for new contributors to feel the urge to fire up their text editor and open a pull-request. Writing code feels creative and getting code merged into Bitcoin Core delivers a dopamine hit that can keep a contributor chasing for a long time. From what I’ve observed, the best way to make an immediate impact on Bitcoin Core only has one road to success. Review.
In January, John Newbery sent out a Bitcoin Core contributor survey in preparation for the March Coredev meeting, which was later canceled due to COVID-19. Given that the year is coming to a close, I thought it might be good timing to retrospect on those responses (even though they are now somewhat outdated) in preparation for another survey in early 2021.
This post outlines research to create an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to help fund deserving Bitcoin contributors.
I’m grateful that Chaincode doesn’t have an open grant process. It’s an enormous time investment to do well. Square Crypto, BitMEX, OKCoin, and others should be lauded for their financial contributions back to the ecosystem. But after convincing the higher-ups that grants are a good idea, the real heroes dig in to read all those applications and talk with dozens of candidates. Over this past year, it’s been a thrill to see an uptick in dev funding. I’ve witnessed life-changing grants that allow developers and researchers to turn 100% of their attention to Bitcoin development. That trend seems to be accelerating with more individuals and exchanges recognizing the importance of supporting the devs that secure our Bitcoin future. I enjoy giving Peter McCormack flack as much as the next bloke, but it’s hard to avoid appreciating his use of his platform to advocate that bitcoin corporations acknowledge their responsibility to financially contribute to the maintenance of the infrastructure that underlies their businesses.