In 2020, the Human Rights Foundation launched a fund to support software developers who are making the Bitcoin network more private, decentralized, and resilient so that it can better serve as a financial tool for human rights activists, civil society organizations, and journalists around the world.
About the HRF Bitcoin Development Fund
Launched in May 2020 to support open source software, HRF’s Bitcoin Development Fund focuses on improving the privacy, usability, and resilience of the Bitcoin Network. To date, HRF has allocated more than $750,000 to developers and educators across the world. HRF continues to raise support for the Bitcoin Development Fund, with the next round of gifts to be announced in Q3 of 2021.
HRF is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. USD gifts to the Bitcoin Development Fund can be made by clicking here, while proposals for support can be submitted to [email protected] Follow @HRF on Twitter for more updates on this project and all of our other programs designed to promote freedom and human rights around the world.
May 31, 2021 Update:
The Human Rights Foundation is delighted to announce the latest round of grants as part of its Bitcoin Development Fund. Calvin Kim and Dhruv Mehta will each receive $50,000 in BTC for their work on scaling and strengthening the Bitcoin core protocol. Abubakar Nur Khalil will receive $50,000 in BTC for his work on Bitcoin wallet software. In addition, the Sphinx and Breez teams will each receive $25,000 in BTC to help add privacy features to the Lightning ecosystem, and Arabic_HODL will receive $10,000 in BTC for his efforts to translate Bitcoin works into Arabic.
March 2021 Update:
The Human Rights Foundation is delighted to announce four new gifts from its Bitcoin Development Fund. This wave of donations will support Bitcoin development, a new open source wallet, a privacy newsletter, and internships for college students to work on Bitcoin software and new user education.
Bitcoin developer Jesse Posner will receive a gift of $25,000 in BTC. Until recently Jesse worked as a key management engineer at Coinbase, and is now today dedicating himself to the free and open source software movement. HRF’s support for Jesse will allow him to to finish his work on adapter signatures and discrete log contracts, which will bolster second-layer technology like the Lightning Network and help lay the foundation for “DeFi” to come to Bitcoin. HRF’s gift will also help Jesse begin research and implementation of new building blocks for key management systems in the post-Taproot era, including Schnorr threshold systems like FROST, which will help users more easily and privately control their funds.
The team behind Muun, an open source bitcoin and lightning wallet available for Android and iPhone, will receive a gift of $25,000 in BTC. This Argentina-based project led by Dario Sneidermanis seeks to make self-custodial bitcoin and lightning use easier and more intuitive than ever before. The Muun wallet can be downloaded here and has been praised widely throughout the industry including by Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey.
Privacy advocate Janine Roem will receive a gift of $10,000 in BTC to support her Bitcoin privacy newsletter. The newsletter which can be joined and read here is a monthly roundup of all news related to privacy in Bitcoin, ranging from new technology to new risks to guides that help individuals protect themselves while using Bitcoin.
Blockchain Commons, an open source cryptography non-profit, will receive a gift of $10,000 to help create a series of Bitcoin-focused internships. These internships will be opportunities for university students to contribute to Bitcoin software development and provide personal onboarding and education about how to use Bitcoin to activists in HRF’s network. This will allow, for example, journalists and dissidents under authoritarian regimes to have personalized assistance on how to, for example, set up a Bitcoin payment processor on their website to allow them to receive donations from anywhere in the world; configure a wallet that they securely control; and sell Bitcoin into fiat safely when necessary to pay for program expenses.
• Chris Belcher, a UK-based developer working on a technique called “CoinSwap” (originally invented in 2013 by Greg Maxwell) which helps defeat state and corporate financial surveillance by making it much harder for authorities to trace Bitcoin transactions. Previous to his work on CoinSwap, Belcher invented JoinMarket and Electrum Personal Server and wrote the authoritative Bitcoin Privacy guide. He is regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts in Bitcoin privacy.
• Gloria Zhao (@glozow), a UC Berkeley graduate now working on Package Mempool Accept, a project designed to increase Bitcoin’s processing capability, improve Lightning Network usability, and lay the foundation for “package relay.” With support from HRF and Square Crypto, Gloria will work over the coming year at Brink with world-class mentors.
• Ben Kaufman (@_benkaufman)quit school at age 14 to focus on software development, and has dedicated the last two years to working on open-source Bitcoin projects. He will use this grant to improve Specter Desktop, an enhanced user-interface for Bitcoin Core, making it easier for individuals to use Bitcoin securely and privately by running a full node and removing any reliance on third-party services.
• As part of Global Mesh Labs, Richard Myers, Fodé Diop, and Will Clark are working on Lot49 to create a basic Android messaging application that adapts existing Bitcoin and Lightning implementations to work off-grid with low-bandwidth and intermittent Internet connectivity. With Lot49, Richard, Fodé, and Will aim to make Bitcoin more usable in mobile-first environments with spotty internet connectivity, unstable currencies, and poor infrastructure.
• Openoms (@openoms) is the creator of JoinInbox, a graphical user interface for JoinMarket, a decentralized CoinJoin implementation. He will be working on making it easier for users to “make” CoinJoin markets by offering their BTC to others, expanding the liquidity pool.
• Evan Kaloudis (@evankaloudis) is the creator of Zeus, an iOS and Android app that lets individuals use their Bitcoin and Lightning node from their phone, allowing them to make or receive sovereign micropayments from anywhere. Evan will continue working on Zeus, making your Bitcoin interactions as private as possible.
• Fontaine (@Fonta1n3) is the creator of Fully Noded, an open source iOS app that allows individuals to interact with and use their Bitcoin Node from their mobile phone. With HRF’s support, Fontaine will also be working on a Tor-based web app counterpart to the mobile app which will make this toolset accessible to a wider audience.