The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) today awarded another round of Bitcoin development grants.
These grants are the latest in a series of gifts from the nonprofit to developers and designers working on Bitcoin’s open source software. Or in this case software and education.
The funds are spread across four separate projects: one to the Bitcoin developer Jesse Posner, one to the Bitcoin Lightning Network wallet Muun, one to the independent data protection journalist Janine and one to the open source incubator Blockchain Commons.
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In line with the Human Rights Foundation’s mission to innovate “to unite the world against tyranny,” the $ 10,000 grants to Blockchain Commons and Janine each will fund Bitcoin activism onboarding and educational efforts, respectively.
On the software side, the HRF grant for the Argentina-based Muun wallet is being used to improve the technology for unconscious payments, and Posner’s grant funds are working to bring the next generation of so-called decentralized financial (DeFi) applications to Bitcoin. Each of these projects will receive Bitcoin worth $ 25,000.
In particular, the HRF believes the work of Muun and Posner will be invaluable in creating better key management practices, more efficient wallet design, and more robust smart contracts that will make Bitcoin more usable for everyone, especially those who need it most .
The Argentine Muun Wallet relies on the Lightning Network – a secondary protocol that builds on Bitcoin’s primary network to enable fast Penny Fee payments – and uses its funds to “make Bitcoin more accessible to all” , said founder Dario Sneidermanis to CoinDesk.
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“As Argentinians, we’ve seen firsthand why this is urgently needed, perhaps a little earlier than the rest of the world. So it’s important for organizations like HRF to take care of it.”
Muun is a Lightning Network non-custody wallet that is growing in popularity in Argentina and elsewhere in Latin America and is the source of Bitcoin adoption in some places.
To increase this acceptance, the weaknesses in Bitcoin wallet technology, particularly with regard to self-custody, need to be improved “in order to completely remove the incentive to use custody services just for fear of losing one’s own bitcoins,” said Sneidermanis.
As fees go up, things like Lightning have to work with phones with low connectivity and low RAM, and language support needs to go beyond the English language as well, he said.
Education and activism
Independent journalist Janine has been at the forefront of uncovering some of the worst stories in the crypto industry. For example, she was the first to speak about Coinbase’s acquisition of the ethically dubious software monitoring company Neutrino.
For the past several years, she has split her time between Internet privacy and the Bitcoin podcast Block Digest, and has published her own Cypherpunk newsletter, This Month in Privacy, a monthly catalog on everything related to Bitcoin, Internet privacy, and other cyber events happens.
“Whether you believe privacy is a human right or a human struggle, protecting financial access and privacy should be an integral part of that mission,” Janine told CoinDesk.
“The last thing I want is for the harmful policies and exclusion structures of traditional finance to be ported into Bitcoin. I started my newsletter on this basis and I am glad that so many people are interested in this topic. “
She told CoinDesk that she could use HRF’s funds to give the blog a multimedia component, such as a conference call with questions and answers for readers. At the request of the reader, she plays with the idea of a web privacy guide that includes Bitcoin resources, among other things.
Blockchain Commons, a not-for-profit that runs bitcoin development internships and develops open source software, will also use its funds to educate and set up HRF activists with bitcoin tools.
The Bitcoin scholarship is used to finance a new internship in the field of activism. College students who receive the internship will assist citizens and activists in economically deprived areas in setting up Bitcoin wallets, payment software, and full nodes to help get started in the Bitcoin economy.
Discreet protocol contract ‘stablecoins’
Once a lawyer, now a Bitcoin developer who used to take over key management for Coinbase, Posner now focuses on DLCs (Discrete Log Contracts), threshold signatures and adapter signatures. All are complex, cryptographic tricks that can set the stage for more creative financial contracts on the Bitcoin network.
With DLCs that Posner is developing with the software company Suredbits, for example, you can create intelligent contracts for trust betting. Suredbits founder and inventor of BTCPay Server, Nicola Dorier, was in one of the US presidential elections, but another, more recent application comes in the form of what Suredbits calls “stall, no coin.”
This DLC, more formally known as a Contract for Difference (CFD), allows two parties to enter into a contract where one side pays the other when Bitcoin goes up and vice versa when Bitcoin goes down. The idea is to offer a party an engagement at a stabilized price so that the balance of their Bitcoin in the escrow account always equals a certain dollar amount.
Under these conditions, one side is technically “long” Bitcoin and the other is “short”. For example, let’s say Alice and Bob each deposit 1 BTC (at $ 50,000 BTC) into a CFD and Bob is on the “short” side, which means that he expects Bitcoin to go down and therefore wants a safety net. If Bitcoin went down (say 50%), Alice would pay him the $ 25,000 difference in Bitcoin to make it whole (instead of losing $ 25,000 on a 50% drawdown, Bob still has Bitcoin worth $ 50,000). . But when Bitcoin goes up, Bob Alice pays that difference.
This financial application is just one of many possibilities for a future of decentralized financial markets on Bitcoin, Posner told CoinDesk. One advantage of DLCs is that almost all contract specification data is calculated outside the chain. This should enable these contracts to improve data protection over smart contracts from Ethereum, said Posner, where trades can be carried out in the mempool and in the frontrun.
“Jesse’s work and research are helping to lay the foundation for two key areas that will be important to Bitcoin users in the future: more powerful and private transactions with multiple signatures, and more flexible smart contracts that help create DeFi capabilities in the Bitcoin- Network lead Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer of the Human Rights Foundation, told CoinDesk.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.