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HRF Announces New Recipients of Gemini-Backed Bitcoin Development Fund

By Jan 11, 2021November 14th, 2022No Comments

NEW YORK (January 12, 2021) — The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) today announced that its next Bitcoin Development Fund gifts will be two grants of $25,000 in Bitcoin to Ben...

NEW YORK (January 12, 2021) — The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) today announced that its next Bitcoin Development Fund gifts will be two grants of $25,000 in Bitcoin to Ben Kaufman and the Global Mesh Labs team. This round of gifts is made possible by Gemini, a leading cryptocurrency exchange and custodian founded by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss.

Ben Kaufman 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.

Specter is optimized to allow users to fully harness the power of hardware wallets, air gapped devices, and multi-signature setups, and is aimed at expanding the number of Bitcoin full nodes and strengthening Bitcoin’s decentralization. Ben’s work on Specter will make it easier than ever for anyone to be their own bank.

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.

Richard Myers is a co-founder of Global Mesh Labs and a longtime C++ developer. He leads the effort to implement Lot49 based mobile apps and gateways and writes frequently about low-bandwidth Bitcoin and decentralized communication. Fodé Diop is a Sénégalese entrepreneur and self-taught software engineer. He won the Smartcar Prize at the Hackmobility 2019 hackathon for his Lightning powered ride-sharing service Litrides and currently participates in the Bitcoin PR Review club where he helps test new Bitcoin features. Will Clark is the creator of the lnproxy c-lighting plugin for making Lightning payments over low-bandwidth radio and worked on the fldigi-proxy project for making Lightning payments over amateur radio. He recently revived a proposal to reduce the bandwidth of Bitcoin block headers and proposed changes to the Electrum protocol to support bandwidth-limited Bitcoin wallets.

HRF’s Bitcoin Development Fund focuses on improving the privacy, usability, and resilience of the Bitcoin Network. Previous grant recipients include Gloria Zhao for Package Memepool Accept, Chris Belcher for Coinswap, Openoms for JoinInbox, Evan Kaloudis for Zeus, and Fontaine for Fully Noded.

HRF continues to raise support for the Bitcoin Development Fund, with the goal of announcing new gifts several times per year. 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, while proposals for support can be submitted to [email protected].

Gemini’s support is part of its recently-launched Gemini Opportunity Fund, a donor-advised initiative that will support Bitcoin development through grants, fellowships, and donations.


Follow @HRF on Twitter for more updates on this project and all of our programs designed to promote freedom and human rights around the world.