Bitcoin Core Launches Sponsorship Program To Support R&D

Journalist:
Lester Coleman
April 7, 2016

Bitcoin Core, the open source project that maintains bitcoin client software called “Bitcoin Core,” has launched a sponsorship program in an effort to involve more of the cryptocurrency community in the project.

The sponsorship program provides a way for the industry to support research, projects and development. Some of the more overlooked aspects of the project include infrastructure, communication and project coordination.

Talent Is Scarce

Due to the complexity of the bitcoin system, individuals with domain expertise who can support research, design and testing are scarce. These experts have an abundance of opportunities awaiting them.

Because Bitcoin Core is an open source project, volunteer help is important. Funding has not been available to meet all of the improvements suggested to the cryptocurrency’s system.

Bitcoin Core is committed to progressing based on science-based research and requirements that are compatible with the system. Decentralization, privacy, censorship resistance and voluntaryism are cryptocurrency tenets.

Because of these tenets, sponsorships cannot guarantee that a specific feature will be included in the Bitcoin Core software, nor can they guarantee that an included feature will be adopted by the cryptocurrency’s users.

Sponsorships Screened

Bitcoin Core will screen sponsorships for compatibility so that when research and development take place, work passing peer review can become part of the Bitcoin Core software. Projects with conceptual “rough consensus” at the outset have a better chance of becoming accepted.

In addition to project sponsorships, Bitcoin Core needs more qualified developers to execute testing, code review, and quality assurance on a regular basis.

The project also requires budgets for public relations, documentation, communications and other resources.

Lastly, because it is an open source project, Bitcoin Core seeks to sustain its sense of decentralization. Each project will have its own manager responsible for allocating funds in addition to giving monthly updates.

Examples Of What Is Needed

Examples of general projects are:

• Internships for new developers to help with testing, code, and review
• Fund or provide full-time developers to help with day-to-day tasks, including peer review
• Generic project management functions such as meeting notes, summaries, contacting people
• Public relations, communications, and marketing (including interviews and podcasts)
• Documentation
• Educational materials (multimedia, videos)
• Website
• Infrastructure
• Designers for technical illustrations, graphics, videos, diagrams, infographics, animated GIFs

Examples of technical projects include:

• Improve block relay
• IBLT
• Research on doing a hard fork safely
• Flexicap blocksize
• UTXO commitments
• Relay network maintenance
• Relay Network v2
• Lightning network integration, testing, payment channels, UI, lightning network
• Build deterministic debian, toolchain, deterministic builds
• Libsecp256k1 maintenance
• Schnorr Signatures/Combined-sig-over-multiple-inputs-via-schnorr-sigs
• Confidential transactions
• Coinjoin, coinswap, mixnets
• Encrypted transactions
• Encrypted p2p network
• Networking code overhaul
• p2p message layer replacement
• Libconsensus refactor
• Non-outsourceable mining research
• Fraud proofs
• SNARKs research, contingent payments, zero knowledge, etc.
• Merkelized Abstract Syntax Trees (MASTs)
• Blockchain sharding
• Formal verification, correctness
• Payment protocol
• Validation cost metric
• Security audits
• Transaction fee estimation

The program is designed for industry participants and at the present time there is no mechanism for accepting smaller donations.

Bitcoin Hard Fork Coming

The largest BTC mining pools that represent over 70% of the cryptocurrency network’s hashing rate recently agreed with 90 percent of the Bitcoin Core contributors over a proposed roadmap for scaling bitcoin, CCN reported. The consensus was achieved at the Scaling Bitcoin Hong Kong conference.

The hard-fork will include the feature of a block size increase to around 2 MB and the code is expected to be available in July 2016, within three months of the release of the Segregated Witness (SegWit) soft work.

Featured image from Facebook.

Lester Coleman

Lester Coleman is a media relations consultant for the payments and automated retailing industries.