I’ve just launched a little new page intended to track grants provided by companies sponsoring open-source software (OSS) development in the Bitcoin ecosystem. Lo and behold, the Bitcoin Grants Tracker.
Let me explain why I think this is helpful, if not important.
Bitcoin’s success is tightly related to the amount and quality of developers constantly developing, reviewing, maintaining and deploying the Bitcoin code. Developers need to put food on the table though and hence usually have to earn an income, be it as an employee, freelancer or entrepreneur. Therefore devs generally support the Bitcoin development and its ecosystem in their free time.
Organizations providing grants to individual devs or whole teams allow the recipients to not worry about an income, at least for a specified amount of time, and fully devote their time to Bitcoin development. This is great and funding activity has only increased over time.
While in Bitcoin’s early days mainly non-profits provided grants, nowadays commercial companies support it as well, either by providing grants (Square
Crypto, BitMEX) or even hiring full-time developers to work on Bitcoin (Blockstream, Lightning Labs).
So why track this Bitcoin funding activity?
Initially I was solely interested in finding out how all these great OSS projects like BtcPayServer, Electrum, Wasabi, Samourai etc. can sustain themselves. Upon finding some with interesting business models that allow them to support themselves, I noticed that there is an ever-increasing amount of funding activity going on but distributed all over Twitter and blogs. To better keep track I started a spreadsheet and later figured that publicly sharing this data could have several benefits:
- it might help others understand who’s funding which devs and projects, and why
- it could help projects get exposure and thereby attract new devs joining them
- it could help the funding organizations and companies get more exposure, potentially encouraging them to provide more funding in the future
- it could act as the basis for more analysis of the Bitcoin funding space
But in the end I enjoy the OSS space, discovering new projects, digging through their repos and learning about the development process. It’s a vibrant space and if my Bitcoin Grants Tracker can help provide a little more transparency, I’m happy about that and will try to expand it in the future.