How do we fund Bitcoin developers and how do we make sure there are enough of them at all?
Former Chaincode Labs developer John Newbery and Blockstream alumnus Mike Schmidt are setting up a nonprofit to answer these two questions.
The new organization is called Brink (a nod to the newspaper headline embedded in Bitcoin’s Genesis block), a new, London-based, independent nonprofit to support open source development for Bitcoin and related technologies. Via Brink, Newbery and Schmidt – who also work together on the Bitcoin Optech project – will award developer grants and look after new contributors.
“We believe that Brink’s unique funding model, grants and focus on mentoring will further decentralize Bitcoin’s protocol development and strengthen the Bitcoin network and developer ecosystem,” Newbery told Bitcoin Magazine.
Perhaps Brink’s most standout activity will be its new scholarship program. Over the course of a year, talented developers under the leadership of Newbery will have the opportunity to get involved in Bitcoin projects such as Bitcoin Core or one of the Lightning projects. Newbery and Schmidt hope this will help more developers contribute to Bitcoin projects.
“The scholarship is pretty unique,” Newbery told Bitcoin Magazine. “Other than the Chaincode residence [a shorter trainee program for Bitcoin developers that Newbery went through himself and later helped organize], it’s hard to establish yourself as a bitcoin core developer. There is a steep learning curve, I hope that with Brink I can help move the needle. “
In addition to the scholarship program, Brink will also provide financial support to existing Bitcoin developers. In this sense, Newbery and Schmidt’s company will act as an intermediary between individuals and organizations who wish to support Bitcoin development (but who do not have the time and / or expertise to select worthy recipients) and developers who are interested in open source – Working on projects that add value to the Bitcoin ecosystem.
“Individuals can sponsor developers,” Newbery said. “We’ve already seen some GitHub sponsorship, but this is one way to increase funding.”
The Brink team consists of experienced Bitcoin experts. In addition to the co-founders Newbery, who will be the managing director of Brink; and Schmidt, who will be company secretary; Brink’s board of directors will also include Dave Harding, the Bitcoin Optech newsletter writer. Organizational funding was provided by investor John Pfeffer and Xapo CEO Wences Casares. The Human Rights Foundation, Square Crypto, and Gemini are funding Brink’s first two fellows, and Kraken is sponsoring its first fellow.
Brink applied in the US as 501 (c) (3). If this designation is granted, US citizens can donate to the organization tax-free. Brink would then be the only organization dedicated exclusively to Bitcoin development and thus accepting direct donations from the public.
More information about Brink can be found on the brink.dev website. If you would like to contribute to Brink, please contact Spender@brink.dev. For more information on Brink’s scholarship and scholarship programs, please visit brink.dev/programs.