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NEW YORK (February 21, 2023) The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is pleased to announce its latest round of gifts from the Bitcoin Development Fund, focusing on censorship-resistant communication, Bitcoin education in authoritarian regimes, core development, and building local community and education. Areas of focus include Africa and Southeast Asia. The grants total $475,000, or approximately 2 billion satoshis.

• $100,000 to Qala, a fellowship program that trains the next generation of African Bitcoin and lightning developers. Funding will allow Qala to continue their 13-week fellowship program, as well as sponsor six Qala fellows to attend the Oslo Freedom Forum, a conference where industry leaders and activists gather to create new partnerships and collaborations.

• $75,000 to the Africa Bitcoin Conference, the largest Bitcoin-focused conference on the African continent. In 2022, the conference brought together hundreds of activists, developers, investors, and entrepreneurs. The 2023 conference aims to host a much larger audience and to spark even more impact.

• $50,000 to William Casarin for his work on Nostr, a decentralized, censorship-resistant, open-source, Lightning-native protocol that allows for a global social network. In contrast to current social media platforms, Nostr users are not censored by governments, banned from posting, or required to register an ID to use the platform. HRF’s support will help Casarin develop, among other things, his popular “Damus” iPhone client.

• $50,000 to Bitcoin for Fairness, a nonprofit founded by Anita Posch focused on raising awareness and understanding of Bitcoin for people in disadvantaged communities and in authoritarian states. Funding will support Bitcoin for Fairness as they host meetups, hold workshops, and produce educational content and online courses for human rights activists, focusing on using Bitcoin in a private and secure manner, especially inside repressive regimes.

• $50,000 to Vasil Dimov for his work on Bitcoin Core, ensuring the continued development and stability of the Bitcoin protocol. Vasil is a top-20 contributor to Bitcoin Core who has helped add Tor v3, I2P, and CJDNS support. Vasil will focus this funding on I2P enhancements and network improvements to help boost Bitcoin’s privacy and decentralization.

• $50,000 to Lorban for their work on Stratum V2, a protocol that helps decentralize Bitcoin mining pools. Lorban will work on the Message Generator, a tool that ensures interoperability between various future Stratum V2 implementations and make sure there are no deviations from the specs, reference implementations, and amongst themselves. More Stratum V2 means less power for mining pools and more censorship-resistance for Bitcoin. 

• $25,000 to Emmanuel Bronshtein for his contributions to Wallet Scrutiny, a project that verifies the security of Bitcoin wallets by examining products for transparency and potential attacks. Emmanuel will be testing Bitcoin wallets for exploits, bugs, and backdoors, contributing to the security of the Bitcoin wallet ecosystem. His work will help users and activists understand if they are downloading the real thing.

• $25,000 to Exomunia to expand their ability to create Bitcoin educational resources. Exonumia is an open-source platform that allows its contributors to translate and publish content about Bitcoin into native African languages, reducing the language barrier for African people. Exomunia will use the funding to continue translating Bitcoin content into languages such as Shona, Luganda, Berber, and Kinyarwanda.

• $25,000 to Ekenimoh Elyan for EasePay, a company that provides Bitcoin micropayment solutions to businesses in Nigeria, education on Bitcoin usage, and access to marketplaces for businesses to accept Bitcoin for their products. With her work, Elyan aims to increase Bitcoin adoption in Nigeria, where a population of over 200 million suffers under double-digit inflation and financial repression.

• $25,000 to Bitcoin Myanmar for financial freedom education in Burma. The creators of this organization fled Burma — with the help of Bitcoin — after they were targeted by the military regime for their support for democracy and freedom. They will use HRF’s funding to create a series of Bitcoin educational content for people inside Burma.

Since early 2020, HRF has allocated more than $2.2 million in BTC and USD to more than 70 developers, educators, and open-source initiatives across the world. HRF continues to raise support for the Bitcoin Development Fund, with the next round of gifts to be announced in May 2023.

HRF is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable by law. Gifts can be made at HRF.org/DevFund and 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.