BitMEX 2021 Open Source Developer Grants

BitMEX is delighted to announce that we have awarded two new open source Bitcoin developer grants to Rene Pickhardt and Chris Coverdale. The grant program for 2021 is now closed. Rene and Chris have each been provided with an eight month grant, US$33,333 of committed funding each, until May 2022. This is equivalent to a rate of US$50,000 per annum. This interim funding is designed to potentially help aspiring developers transition from employment or education to full time Bitcoin development.

Rene’s work will focus on the lightning network. In particular he will focus on improving the reliability of the payment process and minimum cost flow solvers for optimal payment flows. In March 2021, Rene published a paper in which he introduced probabilistic path finding that was the foundation of the work on optimally reliable and cheap payment flows that were introduced in July 2021 and are also known as “Pickhardt Payments”, which he intends to implement as a library that can be used by Lightning Nodes, Wallets and Service Providers. Besides an efficient implementation of the necessary minimum cost flow solvers and the development of benchmarks; the paper laid out several follow up questions on which Rene intends to work.

Chris will focus on building an implementation of the Stratum V2 Bitcoin mining pool protocol. Chris has been working on this since February 2021. The benefits of Stratum V2 includes a more efficient data transfer protocol and that it provides the ability for end miners to select transactions and contract blocks, rather than leaving this to the mining pool operator. This improves the censorship resistance properties of the network. Slush Pool/Braiins are working on an implementation of the protocol. We feel it adds value to Bitcoin to support Chris in his independent implementation, to improve the chances of success for this new protocol.

As a result of the two new grantees, BitMEX financially supports six open source Bitcoin developers, with no strings attached grants:

  • Bitcoin Core maintainer Michael Ford who has been with us for three years, 
  • Gleb Naumenko who joined the program in June 2020
  • Utreexo developer Calvin Kim, who joined the program in August 2020, and
  • Bitcoin Core developer Sjors Provoost, who officially joined the program in August 2021

All six of the current grantees have funding secured until May 2022, when BitMEX will assess renewals.

BitMEX CEO Alex Höptner said:

With the addition of Rene Pickhardt and Chris Coverdale to the open source Bitcoin developer grant programme, that makes six open source developers in total. We’re proud of our long term commitment to Bitcoin and open source technology. Support for Bitcoin developers from cryptocurrency exchanges is something BitMEX pioneered and now our programme is larger and more comprehensive than any other exchange. We are delighted to welcome Rene and Chris to the program and will continue to support Bitcoin development for years to come.