Bitcoin trading platform BitMEX announced two new open-source Bitcoin developer grants to Rene Pickhardt and Chris Coverdale, marking the end of the company’s 2021 grant program. Rene and Chris have each received an eight-month grant of $33,333 until May 2022, which would be equivalent to $50,000 per annum. According to the announcement, this interim funding is designed to help aspiring developers move into full-time Bitcoin development.
“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,” said BitMEX CEO Alex Höptner, per the announcement. “We’re proud of our long term commitment to Bitcoin and open source technology. We are delighted to welcome Rene and Chris to the program and will continue to support Bitcoin development for years to come.”
Rene will work on improving the reliability of the Lightning Network’s payment process. In March, he published a paper introducing probabilistic path-finding, which became the foundation of his follow-up work on optimally reliable and cheap payment flows, submitted in July. Rene intends to implement his new path-finding algorithm coined “Pickhardt Payments” as a library that can be leveraged by nodes, wallets, and service providers in the Lightning Network. BitMEX’s grant will allow Rene to further develop his optimal payment flows algorithm and work on the several follow-up questions laid out by his paper.
Chris, on the other hand, will be focusing on bitcoin mining. The developer will work on building an implementation of the Stratum V2 Bitcoin mining pool protocol, which he has been working on since February. The protocol allows end miners to select transactions and contract blocks themselves, rather than delegating these choices to the mining pool operator, improving data transfer efficiency and the censorship resistance of Bitcoin. Slush Pool/Braiins are also working on an implementation of that protocol. Still, BitMEX’s grant seeks to empower Chris in his independent implementation as well as improve the chances of success for Stratum V2.
In addition to Rene and Chris, BitMEX also supports Bitcoin Core maintainer Michael Ford, Gleb Naumenko, Utreexo developer Calvin Kim, and Bitcoin Core developer Sjors Provoost. BitMEX shared that all six grantees have funding secured until May 2022, when the company will assess renewals.