The Human Rights Foundation (HRF), a nonprofit focused on economic empowerment and online privacy, has launched a 20 Bitcoin (over $590,000) bug bounty challenge to fund improvements to Bitcoin and the Lightning Network.
The initiative aims to support developers working to increase the accessibility, usability, and privacy of digital currency solutions for at-risk people worldwide.
The bounty consists of 10 challenges targeting specific tasks related to mobile wallets, multi-signature functionality, serverless services, end-to-end encrypted messengers, and more. Most challenges are worth 2 BTC, to be awarded to the first individual or team to fully complete the specified requirements.
Activists and Human Rights Defenders Will Benefit from HRF’s Initiative
According to Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer at HRF, the bounties were inspired by “conversations with global activists” seeking features that would enhance Bitcoin (BTC) as a tool for human rights defenders and dissidents.
Six of the 10 challenges focus directly on improvements for Bitcoin mobile wallets, covering everything from seed phrase memorization to multi-sig functionality and Lightning Network support.
For example, one bounty calls for open-sourcing the ‘Bitcoin UI Kit’ design components to make them accessible without proprietary software. Another targets the development of serverless ‘Payjoin’ payments that don’t require users to operate a public node. A third seeks to create end-to-end encrypted group chats for the Nostr social network.
HRF views financial inclusion through Bitcoin and the Lightning Network second-layer solution as critical for enabling human rights defenders to receive donations even if they are cut off from traditional banking services. Any unclaimed bounties will revert back to the HRF’s Bitcoin Development Fund after December 2024.
3 BTCs Worth of Bounties Have Already Been Claimed
To qualify for a bounty, individuals or teams must fully complete the specified task and submit proof to HRF. Submissions are then reviewed by external experts to validate that they satisfy the task´s requirements.
Gladstein notes that HRF will take “a charitable view” when judging submissions that make a good faith effort, focusing more on “the spirit” than the “letter of the law.”
The Bitcoin Bounty Challenge officially runs through the end of 2024. However, developers have already begun working on some of the assigned tasks. Gladstein revealed that two of three Lightning Network bounties worth 3 BTC each, issued by HRF in December 2021, have already been claimed.
By financially incentivizing open-source developers through these bounties, HRF aims to accelerate innovation that can expand access to Bitcoin’s economic empowerment and privacy benefits for advocates, activists, and at-risk communities globally. Said Gladstein, “HRF views Bitcoin and financial freedom as one aspect of the human rights struggle”.
The foundation hopes that this initial 20 BTC bounty program will prove an effective model for funding open-source development, potentially inspiring other nonprofits and organizations to launch similar initiatives expanding human rights through technology.
Lighting Network Can Process Nearly $150M in Bitcoin Transactions
According to data compiled by the job opportunity marketplace Zippia, 16% of Americans claimed to have used cryptocurrencies either for payment, investment, or trading purposes in 2023.
Bitcoin is the leading cryptocurrency both in terms of market capitalization and adoption as a mean of payment and the Lighting Network has helped users embrace the asset for this purpose as it reduces the cost of transacting with it.
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Data from Bitcoin Visuals indicate that, as of today, the Lighting Network has the capacity to process nearly $150 million in BTC transactions based on the number of active nodes that are currently supporting the layer-two solution.
By making it easier and cheap for users to make transactions with the cryptocurrency, the Lighting Network’s developers hope that they can increase the speed at which BTC is adopted as mean of payment worldwide.