Chris Belcher received a grant of USD 50,000 for the CoinSwap protocol. The HRF will finance projects that work on the development of privacy in Bitcoin.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a New York-based non-profit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally. It has recently launched a fund to support Bitcoin developers that make the Bitcoin network more private, decentralized, and resilient. London-based Bitcoin developer Chris Belcher received the first grant, worth close to USD 50,000; therefore, that he would implement its CoinSwap protocol.

Alex Gladstein, chief strategy officer at HRF, said that the Bitcoin network is improving. However, he noted that it is still far from being as usable and private as it needs to be, especially with authoritarianism and state oversight on the rise in many countries. He stated that, with increased support, developers like Chris can help activists to receive donations and continue to do their important work under increasing pressure.

A Grant to Make Bitcoin More Private

The Venezuelan film producer and human rights defender Thor Halvorssen Mendoza founded The Human Rights Foundation in 2005. Its current chairperson, Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, has been a great pioneer in Bitcoin and its privacy features for a long time.

A private individual, who decided not to reveal his identity, recently contacted the Human Rights Foundation to donate USD 100,000 to the Bitcoin development that the Human Rights Foundation and Gladstein are conducting. The aforementioned donor gave the money away with no strings attached, trusting that the foundation would find a good use for it.

In turn, the Human Rights Foundation wanted to reward two Bitcoin projects in line with the organization’s objectives. To choose the recipients, the Human Rights Foundation conducted an informal vote among Bitcoin privacy experts to find two projects that promote Bitcoin’s privacy, decentralization, and resilience.

Reasons to Choose CoinSwap

Gladstein said that the experts unanimously proposed that Belcher receive the grant for his recent CoinSwap protocol. This is a privacy technique initially proposed in 2013 by former Bitcoin Core developer and Blockstream co-founder Gregory Maxwell.

Belcher, one of the most prominent experts on Bitcoin privacy, recently posted a detailed outline of the correct use of the CoinSwap technique. The developer, who was the author of an extensive Bitcoin privacy guide and led the development of JoinMarket and the Electrum Personal Server, addressed a range of potential privacy leaks and conceived of a JoinMarket-like liquidity market that mixes currencies.

Functional implementation of CoinSwap would mean another great step forward in Bitcoin’s privacy. There are already tools like CoinJoin, which offer privacy, but they often reveal that they were used. On the other hand, CoinSwap transactions could be done, indistinguishable from regular transactions.

This is something that benefits not only CoinSwap users but also everyone else. Blockchain analysts will not be able to safely assume that regular transactions are actual regular transactions since these could also have been CoinSwap transactions.

The Human Rights Foundation will continue to raise support for ongoing Bitcoin developments through crowdfounding campaigns. They will use any donation to projects that help improve the Bitcoin network. The fund will aim to continuously support projects that are worth it.

By Alexander Salazar


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