Start Your Career in Bitcoin Open Source Development

Why consider a career in bitcoin open source development?

If you aspire to have professional freedom, work on something that will impact the lives of countless people across the world, write code that will span generations, and collaborate with some of the most gifted developers on the planet to solve some of the hardest technical problems of our age, then you are in the right place.

Earning a grant for full-time bitcoin open source work

Financial support for bitcoin open source work typically comes in the form of a grant. Grants usually last for one year and many are renewed.

Bitcoin funding is different from other open source and other cryptocurrency projects. Getting a grant in bitcoin is pretty straightforward. You either need someone to vouch for you or you need to do work - ideally both. While grant programs often have open applications, the secret to getting funding is not much of a secret. Start doing the job for free. It establishes you as a contributor and proves your motivation. It shows that you are a good investment. Applicants will have much more success if they do the work and then apply. For most jobs, the applicant is trying to convince the employer that they are capable of doing the job. But the job-seeker has no idea what the work or environment is actually like. In open source, one does not have to guess. Do the work. Demonstrate capability. Then ask for support.

Doing the work also means demonstrating your work. Not all work in open source work is as visible as writing code. The less visible work is no less valuable, but it is in your best interest to create artifacts of your effort. Transparency is your friend. If you learn something, it is helpful to codify it by writing a blog post or keeping a running log. I have seen some write a bi-weekly summary email tracking their progress. Code reviews used to be hard to track, but now GitHub does a better job crediting a green square. Taking long walks to reflect on how to approach a problem is necessary, but writing up your conclusions in a public place is valuable collateral that can forever serve as evidence of your progress.

(Excerpt from A guide for bitcoin open-source grant seekers)

Funding Organizations

  • Spiral is the bitcoin R&D arm of Block who have been distributing grants since 2019.
  • Brink is a 501c3, mostly focused on funding Bitcoin Core developers, established in 2020.
  • OpenSats is a 501c3, established in 2021.
  • Human Rights Foundation is a 501c3 that has been distributing grants since 2020.

Various exchanges and individuals have sponsored devs in the past, but the above orgs have become the main distributors of grants over the last couple of years.