While development bounty programs have existed in the cryptocurrency ecosystem for some time now, they have all been somewhat inefficient at garnering interest. However, a new funding project, pioneered in part by the co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, may be finally ready to challenge that fact.
Announced at the Ethereum Community Conference that was held in Paris in March 2018, the primary aim of ETHPrize is to monetarily incentivize talented developers to contribute a significant amount of their time and skill. The end-goal, according to organizations sponsoring the effort, is to boost innovation in the Ethereum platform and eventually, benefit the entire digital currency ecosystem.
Given that the entire concept of cryptocurrencies has always been based on the idea of decentralization and open-source attitude, their continued development has always been at the mercy of altruistic coders. These individuals, who typically have an interest in the crypto ideology, were all the industry needed to keep itself propped up. That is, until now.
Passionate Developers Require Funding
While monetary gain has never been a goal of most developers contributing towards the future of digital currency technology, it is apparent that they need some financial backing to offset their time utilized during development.
Developers, very talented ones at that, are increasingly lured towards short-term development obligations that do not necessarily benefit the entire ecosystem. All of this is while issues in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, and more importantly, the Ethereum network, still exist. Take the problem of scalability of digital currencies, for instance. Bitcoin and Ethereum both saw their fees skyrocket just a couple months ago when they reached their respective all-time high price points.
Josh Stark, the co-founder of L4 Ventures, holds a similar viewpoint. He said:
“There are so many opportunities out there for talented developers that have experience in this space. We need to pull them away from projects that are short-term profit driven to focus on things that have long-term extraordinary value for the whole ecosystem.”
Another problem is that many groups of developers tend to all be engaged in combating one specific issue and vying for a singular bounty. The situation causes other, sometimes equally important, problems to never get the attention they deserve. The ETHPrize project aims to rectify that, by offering significant bounties that are individually managed by the team to prevent overlap.
Productivity Gains on the Ethereum Platform
The team believes that all of these steps, including a drastic increase in funding potential, will finally lead to a boost in development productivity within the Ethereum platform. Importantly though, the project does not intend to reduce the amount of community contribution by attracting a limited target audience.
The project is a result of 50 hour-long developer interviews conducted by the ETHPrize team. The goal of the interviews was to assess what common pitfalls existed in the current bounty system.
In addition to the founding partners of ETHPrize, the project will also be backed by various organizations, including Coinbase Toshi, Status, 0x and the Ethereum Community Fund. Vitalik Buterin has raised the issue of developer compensation several times in the past. Given that he is responsible for the majority of the Ethereum platform, it is likely that he understands the need for better bounty programs and funding significantly better.