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.
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Strike x HRF: Lightning Bounty Challenge
Strike and the Human Rights Foundation are teaming up to support open-source developers working to increase the usability and privacy of Lightning wallets, inspired by HRF’s research around the world with regard to what kind of functionality global Bitcoin users need today.
We are setting three challenges. An individual or team who solves any of the three challenges — as determined by an independent board of voices in the Bitcoin community — will receive a bounty of 1 BTC.
About the HRF Bitcoin Development Fund
- The Africa Bitcoin Conference, taking place in Accra, Ghana on December 7-9, 2022. This event will be the first major Bitcoin/Lightning event to take place on the African continent since 2019, and is being organized by a team led by Togolese human rights advocate Farida Nabourema. Bitcoin builders and educators from across Africa will gather in Accra to present new ideas, meet each other, open dialogues with businesses on the continent, and find new support for their work.
- Bernard Parah, Carla Kirk-Cohen, Tim Akinbo, and Abubakar Nur Khalil to establish the Qala fellowship, a program to find and grow local Nigerian talent starting with developers to build careers in the Bitcoin space. Nigeria is a global leader in Bitcoin adoption and P2P trading, yet the country is underrepresented in the Bitcoin developer space. Starting with ten developers, the academy’s inaugural program will consist of a six-month intensive bootcamp focused on how to build on Bitcoin. Special thanks to Paxful for making this grant possible.
- Novaya Gazeta, one of Russia’s leading independent news outlets. Novaya Gazeta is renowned for their investigative coverage of Russian politics and society. Funding will allow the newspaper to explore the intersection of cryptocurrency and human rights in the context of Putin’s war on Ukraine and the resettlement of millions of Ukrainian refugees and Russian exiles.
- Netblocks to study the impact of government restrictions on the Bitcoin protocol and surrounding mechanisms that facilitate access to digital currency. The grant will help Netblocks take the first steps toward extending their public interest research and reporting to cover emergent threats to connectivity that impact the global Bitcoin network. NetBlocks is a global internet monitor working at the intersection of digital rights, cybersecurity, and internet governance.
- SeedSigner to create inexpensive open-source hardware wallets utilizing Raspberry Pi Zeroes, to enable people to be their bank for as little as $50. The decentralization of hardware wallets is crucial to Bitcoin’s ethos of self custody and resiliency. SeedSigner will use the funding to upgrade the user interface, add support for other languages, and continue to add user optimizations.
- Calvin Kim to work on “Utreexo”, a project that dramatically increases the speed of deploying a new Bitcoin node, helping to increase Bitcoin’s scalability and decentralization. He will feature-completing the current Utreexo Bitcoin node implementation to support all things that a current Bitcoin node is able to do.
- Gloria Zhao to work 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.
- Arabic_HODL to make the Bitcoin space more accessible to the 300+ million Arabic speakers in the world. HRF’s funding will allow him to continue to translate and publish Bitcoin educational content in Arabic, as well as explore new projects such as a monthly newsletter, video tutorials, and a podcast for his growing following.
- The team behind Muun, an open source bitcoin and lightning wallet available for Android and iPhone, 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.
- Janine Roem 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, 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, to support “CoinSwap” – a technique 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.