Venture Capitalist Dovey Wan of Primitive Ventures has raised a reported 50 BTC, worth more than $550,000 at the time of writing, to support bitcoin developers.
Hard Core Fund Supporting Bitcoin Developers
The endowment, raised under the name “Hard Core Fund,” will go towards creating sustainable income streams for bitcoin developers - a challenge Wan believes is one of the more pressing for cryptocurrency in 2019.
The venture capitalist paired with Bitmain’s Pan Zhibiao to create the Hard Core Fund last year. By Fall 2018, the group had tabbed Bitcoin Core developers Luke Dashjr and Ben Woosley to begin supporting full-time.
Woosley told CoinDesk he updates the fund’s operators monthly with a compilation of his code and engineering work. In return, the Hard Core Fund pays out a portion of his annual salary.
In addition to input from Wan and Zhibiao, the fund relies upon outside donations to keep expanding, including contributions from Poolin’s Kevin Pan. However, a large portion of donations come from anonymous contributors, including those hailing from China’s growing crypto community.
Bitcoin Developers Wanted
WIth the most recent round of funding, the group is opening applications for more developers and hoping to increase the number of full-time bitcoin coders.
Wan told CoinDesk,
“We collected 50 bitcoin. Right now, you wouldn’t believe it, there are less than 10 full-time bitcoin developers. …We want to fund full-time independent bitcoin developers.”
Bitcoin is an open-source, decentralized project that any developer is able to contribute towards. However, the cryptocurrency has garnered large organizational support, including MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative and Square.
Nonetheless, supporting smaller teams and independent full-time devs remains an important hurdle for the bitcoin ecosystem to overcome, one that Wan believes can be tackled through endowments such as the Hard Core Fund,
“We should be wary of forming a bias, of groupthink. Having diverse funding models helps protect us against groupthink on any given topic.”
Lightning Network a Priority
While the fund’s founders claim to have no input on what bitcoin developers work on, they report having a special interest in products related to lightning network and improvements in network scale.
Pan explained what the project is looking for in terms of applicants,
“We are looking for someone who’s got a deep understanding of Bitcoin’s architecture and its existing problems to solve…if he or she can train, coach, or facilitate other developers, propose new BIPs [updates] and new directions for technical improvement, that’s even better.”
With the rise of centralized digital currencies such as Facebook’s libra, it will become even more necessary for the bitcoin community to support its own development.