How do we fund Bitcoin developers, and how do we ensure there are enough of them in the first place?
Former Chaincode Labs developer John Newbery and Blockstream alumnus Mike Schmidt are launching a nonprofit to help answer both of these 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. Through Brink, Newbery and Schmidt — who also collaborate on the Bitcoin Optech project — will issue developer grants and mentor new contributors.
“We believe that Brink’s unique model of funding, grant awards and focus on mentoring will further decentralize Bitcoin’s protocol development and strengthen the Bitcoin network and developer ecosystem,” Newbery told Bitcoin Magazine.
Brink’s most distinctive activity will perhaps be its new fellowship program. Over the course of a year, talented developers will, under the mentorship of Newbery, get the opportunity to learn the ropes of contributing to Bitcoin projects like Bitcoin Core or one of the Lightning projects. Newbery and Schmidt hope this will help more developers get started contributing to Bitcoin projects.
“The fellowship is pretty unique,” Newbery told Bitcoin Magazine. “Other than the Chaincode Residency [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 dev. There’s a steep learning curve, I hope to help move the needle on that with Brink.”
Besides the fellowship program, Brink will also issue funding to existing Bitcoin developers. Newbery and Schmidt’s company will in this sense act as an intermediary between individuals and organizations that would like to sponsor Bitcoin development (but that don’t have the time and/or expertise to select worthy…