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NEW YORK (May 31, 2021) 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.

• HRF joins BitMEX to support Calvin Kim. He will use the funds 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. This includes things such as wallet functionality and mempool support. Later in the year, he hopes to finalize the Utreexo Accumulator design so that it can be turned into a specification such as a BIP.


• HRF joins Square Crypto and Gemini to support Dhruv Mehta. He will use the funds to increase Bitcoin’s censorship-resistance. Despite the sybil resistance and proof-of-work consensus available to the network today, new nodes are still susceptible to being co-opted into dishonest chains via DNS and BGP attacks on seed nodes. Dhruv will push BIP324 forward and leverage it in the bitcoin-seeder to allow for authenticated seeds, increasing Bitcoin’s security. He will also work on increasing fuzz test coverage and automation.


• HRF will also support Abubakar Nur Khalil, who is a Nigerian Bitcoin developer. Our support will constitute bridge funding for Abubakar, as he works to develop Bitcoin wallet software for the Nigerian context. Once he establishes a minimum viable product, he will apply for formal Bitcoin development programs sometime in the next year and pursue a career in core development.


• HRF will support Arabic HODL, who is working 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.


• HRF will support Sphinx’s efforts to help improve the usability of the Lightning Network to allow activists to send and receive Bitcoin more privately. They will launch the people.sphinx.chat directory that will allow anyone to connect and directly transfer satoshis to an activist. Sphinx will also develop and donate new “lightning on a stick” devices to the activist community. For now, these sticks support signing Lightning transactions and messages, and in the future, the devices will be able to run Lightning nodes.


• HRF will support Breez’s efforts to bring more privacy to the Lightning ecosystem. The Breez team will be using will be using HRF’s grant to issue bounties for the following enhancements and features: 

    •Adding NextCloud support for Lightning node backups. With the addition of NextCloud as a decentralized provider, users will be able to host their own remote cloud servers and store their backups more privately.

    •Tor support for Android and/or iOS: In addition to Neutrino’s privacy-enhancing technology, which is already built into Breez, securing network communication with Tor will allow users to access the network without disclosing their IP information.

    •Lightning login for matrix.org: Breez is interested in adding secured, encrypted messaging to its feature palette using the matrix.org protocol. The first step in this integration is to employ users’ unique Lightning node information to log in to matrix anonymously. Since the matrix protocol can be extended to third-party identity providers, we could implement an authentication provider resembling lnurl-auth.


HRF is grateful to our sponsors for this round, who make all of this Bitcoin support possible. They include Jaewoo Cho and RenoHQ, who provided generous support to lead this round, as well as  Anthony Pompliano and the Bitcoin Pizza team, and finally Cygni Capital, a new fund of Thomas France and Nicolas Pinto. RenoHQ is a cryptocurrency investor and Jaewoo Cho is an assistant professor at Hansung University. They are the first Koreans to sponsor a Korean Bitcoin developer, and they hope that their support encourages others in Korea to do the same.


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. Gifts can be made at HRF.org/DevFund, 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.