Blockstream and Lightning Labs have a total of 16 developers dedicated to Bitcoin. Chaincode Labs, on the other hand, funds the entry of about 6 Bitcoin Core developers.

In recent days, BitMEX researchers revealed a list of the top organizations and individuals contributing to the development of Bitcoin. According to the material collected, Blockstream and Lightning Labs are the two companies with the highest funding for open source projects directly related to Bitcoin and Lightning Network.

According to research on public data, BitMEX notes that Blockstream, one of the largest companies in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, has a team of eight developers dedicated to initiatives on the Bitcoin blockchain. The company has two workers specialized in Bitcoin, three in the Lightning Network, and three more dedicated full time to crypto projects.

On the other hand, Lightning Labs also has eight active developers dedicated exclusively to the development of Lightning Network. Square Crypto, a subsidiary of the payment company Square, has assembled a team of seven developers for projects in this ecosystem. Likewise, startups like Chaincode, Purse and Mit DCI have six workers each engaged in open source initiatives in Bitcoin.

The international wallet Xapo, the Chinese exchange platform OkCoin and the exchange house Bitfinex are among the many other contributors in the sector. In this way, the BitMEX report concluded that the financing of Bitcoin currently comes from more diverse sources and have better-distributed participation than in previous years.

Bitcoin Core Is Not Helpless

Bitcoin Core, the main group of developers dedicated to Bitcoin software, also receives funding from these companies. Of the 33 people conforming to this group, only 11 developers are independent and do not receive a fixed salary for their activities. The rest of the experts are associated with one of the aforementioned companies, receiving full-time or part-time pay.

For instance, the startup ChainCode finances six Bitcoin Core developers, being the company in the sector that provides the most monetary contributions to the group. Blockstream also covers the salaries of 3 developers of this team and the remaining 12 receive payment on behalf of BitMEX, Xapo, Private Donor and Square Crypto, among others.

Along with the developers that currently receive financing from companies, the BitMEX report does not reveal how much money the Bitcoin ecosystem is receiving for its development. However, the monetary contributions in this market have improved considerably, especially taking into account that two years ago Bitcoin Core developers were seeking job offers to pay basic expenses.

Race to Secure Funds

Chaincode and Coinbase began to offer jobs for Bitcoin experts in 2018, understanding the problems that the lack of financing caused. Personalities like Udi Wetheriminer and Oded Leiba stated at the time that it was difficult to contribute to Bitcoin and earn money for the work done.

In this sense, the developers were forced to abandon their projects, decreased the number of hours invested to develop the blockchain, and dedicated themselves to work that would allow them to survive.

The community raised the possibility of creating a fund to finance the work of Bitcoin Core, as well as seeking alternative initiatives that would allow the maintenance of Bitcoin. Amid this brainstorming, some enthusiasts considered the importance of distributing contributions and preventing financing from being fully centralized.

Since its creation in 2012, the Bitcoin Foundation has been dedicated to cover expenses to promote and maintain the main cryptocurrency. However, after starting as a renowned and prestigious organization, it became a controversial entity. It received various criticisms from the community for its rigid administration, until it lost power and finally disbanded.

Currently, a larger group of companies are contributing to the development of Bitcoin, which leads BitMEX to believe in the formation of a healthier financing model. In it, there would be more money available for developing full-time projects, whilst maintaining a higher degree of sponsor distribution and encouraging transparency.

By Alexander Salazar


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