A new website tells you who is funding Bitcoin software development and who are the programmers benefiting.
The WhoFundsBitcoin website graphically shows how companies and nonprofits support Bitcoin programmers to work on tools or the code itself.
In addition, a history of the evolution of sponsorships is available, showing how this has grown remarkably over time, integrating new organizations and developers to work on Bitcoin.
For perspective, by 2019, only seven entities had supported Bitcoin development, while by 2022, more than 15 entities had done the same. The result is an interconnected ecosystem of funders, applications, and programmers.
For example, the Brink organization has received funding from FTX, Coinbase, Nexo, OKCoin, BlockFi, BTCTurk, and Gemini exchanges. Likewise, from the wallet Exodus, the Stacks Foundation, and the Human Rights Foundation. With this funding, Brink has provided financing to 11 Bitcoin programmers.
Other organizations that fund Bitcoin programmers include Bitmex, Spiral, the Digital Currency Initiative, Blockstream, Chaincode Labs, Compass Mining, Strike, and Wasabi Wallet.
Some notable programmers receiving funding are Ben Kaufman, Gloria Zhao, Luke Dash Jr, Ruben Somsen, Pieter Wuille, and Francisco Calderon. The latter we recently talked about in CryptoNews for developing a Telegram bot to exchange bitcoin (BTC) for other currencies, called lnp2pbot.
Are these entities in control of bitcoin?
It is a common mistake by Bitcoin critics to assume that a few companies and programmers control the Bitcoin Core software, the immediate implementation of this protocol.
However, nothing could be further from the truth for several reasons. First, Bitcoin is free and open-source software. Anyone can modify and implement it as they see fit, as long as it complies with the requirements of the consensus protocol.
If a Bitcoin implementation does not follow the rules accepted by the majority of the nodes in the network, or if it fails to comply with any of the regulations, this software implementation will be rejected. It will be out of the consensus, known under the term fork.
On the other hand, these entities and companies do not modify Bitcoin software as it suits them. It is pretty challenging to change the central Bitcoin Core code repository. This requires arduous processes of discussion, review, and work to integrate any modifications.
How do these entities influence the evolution of Bitcoin?
Anyone can submit Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs), but this does not guarantee that they will be included.
For example, we at News Cyber have reported on BIP-119, created by developer Jeremy Rubin. Despite working on it for more than three years, it is unlikely to be integrated into Bitcoin.
The companies above and organizations often work on infrastructure that allows them to provide Bitcoin-based products and services.
The beneficiaries of this funding do not always work directly on Bitcoin code but in user experience and user interface (UX/UI), mobile or desktop applications, and connectivity.
Others work on solutions such as Lightning or study how to improve some Bitcoin capabilities and functions that do not require drastic changes to the network consensus.
The WhoFundsBitcoin project is under construction to keep adding more valuable data and features. According to its creator, programmer Giannis Kouloumos, it will soon open a GitHub for more people to contribute. Kouloumos is open to receiving feedback as of now on the site.