OKCoin and HDR Global (the company that owns BitMEX) have partnered to provide a joint $150,000 grant to Bitcoin developer (BTC) Core Amiti Uttarwar. This is the first time that two competitor exchanges have come together to co-fund Bitcoin’s open source development.
The two exchanges have provided separate funding in the past, and OKCoin has awarded grants to Fabian Jahr and BTCPay Server (USD 100,000) in February and May 2020, respectively. HDR has recently provided grants to MIT’s DCI, Bitcoin Core maintainer Michael Ford ($150,000) and Bitcoin developer and researcher Gleb Naumenko ($100,000).
This joint movement is in recognition that the entire blockchain industry is built on open source development work and both exchanges independently identified Uttarwar’s work as essential to the advancement of the Bitcoin Network.
OKCoin’s communications director told Cointelegraph that Uttarwar was the person who brought the two exchanges together after they both approached her:
“We both independently came up with the idea of sponsoring Amiti’s work as part of our missions to support the development of open source bitcoin. Amiti informed us that we both wanted to support it, and we decided to match each other’s donation. So it came up quite organically.”
Bitcoin Critical Development
Uttarwar, who previously worked for Coinbase and Xapo before focusing entirely on Bitcoin, explained that his work is based on his passion for what Bitcoin can do for the future of human society:
“Bitcoin introduces a new model of trust with an explicit set of rules that are open and available to everyone. Strangers can agree on what happened without having to trust each other. This potential can profoundly change the way we interact as humans and how we structure our societies. Ever since I discovered the possibilities, I’ve been hooked.”
His recent work revolves around the Bitcoin P2P layer, specifically in relation to how nodes reveal sensitive information. OKCoin CEO Hong Fang explained that they selected Uttarwar based on their recent work:
“Amiti’s work focuses on the critical components of Bitcoin Core, making the code base more secure for all senders of transactions and building on Satoshi’s vision of a secure and private P2P e-money system.”
Investing in the future
Fang also explained that he sees support for independent developers as a priority to contribute to the long-term success of the Bitcoin network:
“This is a small but important step in encouraging open source development and attracting more developers to our industry.”
Uttarwar explained that he will continue to focus on the Bitcoin P2P layer with the grant to be paid monthly over a 12-month period, and that there is still a long way to go:
“There are only 30-40 people who contribute to Bitcoin Core full-time. Contrast this with the fact that as an industry, we are trying to build a fully functional global currency. We have a long way to go. With this grant, I plan to continue my efforts to make Bitcoin Core more reliable, private, and understandable.