Back in May, Olivier Janssens posted a bounty for software that would replace the Bitcoin Foundation. Lighthouse, led by Mike Hearn, was awarded the $90,000 bounty on Wednesday.
Lighthouse is a crowdfunding platform designed by Bitcoin core developer Mike Hearn. It runs over the blockchain. Think of Kickstarter, but decentralized and funded by Bitcoin. Hearn hopes it will be used to fund the Bitcoin developers directly. It could be used to spur Bitcoin adoption elsewhere, by launching a campaign to sponsor ATMs in Africa, for example, Janssens said. Funding the salaries of core Bitcoin developers has always been a touchy subject for the Bitcoin community, and it seems that we are finally on a path for conciliatory arrangement. People are wary of companies or organizations (particularly centralized ones) that have undue influence over those whom have direct influence on the next version of Bitcoin.
Janssens decided against “direct democracy” with the selection, calling Bitcoin apolitical. He said:
“The sky is really the limit. And it will not create any political overhead, we can select the projects we want to support directly.”
Hearn will open source the project starting in August of 2014, he promises.
Eris, the Decentralized Autonomous Organization initiative that stirred interest a couple weeks ago, won runner-up. Olivier Janssens carved out a $10,000 prize from the original bounty for their effort, a move that has been further applauded by the community.
Problems with Bitcoin Foundation
In the announcement, Janssens rehashes his arguments for a better Bitcoin Foundation. He bemoans the lack of transparency and he wants a system where everyone has access to funding information and can help direct the course of Bitcoin.
Janssens hopes that Lighthouse could give the Bitcoin community a larger role, and a core platform, for crowdfunding Bitcoin projects. Whether you are interested in lobbying, adoption initiatives, or core developers, the Bitcoin Foundation replacement will be a lot more inclusive without expensive barriers to entry.
The Early Bitcoin adopter
Janssens posted a description of the bounty on Reddit in May. He was upset with the state of the Bitcoin Foundation, especially after the controversial addition of Brock Pierce to the board.
“Unfortunately, it is internally recreating the same archaic political system that fails to work for society. Bitcoin is the currency of the internet generation. It puts the power back into the hands of the people. You cannot expect its main representative organisation [sic] to be exactly the opposite: A non-transparent, political and secretive elite.”
He drew up a $100,000 bounty for the development of software that could replace it. He described the imagined system as so:
I am thinking of a system where prominent people can voice their opinion, where people can propose projects, and where the core devs can actively show their roadmap with detailed features + costs, and where we can vote on the features being implemented by sending bitcoins towards the feature of our choice.
He gave developers just a single month to draw up a proposal for these features. He locked 250 BTC in an address and verified the account identity to quell some skepticism over the authenticity.