Three Bitcoin Core developers, Alex Morcos, Suhas Daftuar and Matt Corallo, have announced a month-long “Hacker Residency” for established developers with, preferably, bitcoin experience.
The event is organized by Chaincode Labs, “a New York City-based research and development group that explores cryptocurrencies and other peer-to-peer decentralized systems” according to their website.
The lab is further hiring 4-6 developers to work on bitcoin’s protocol and development to address the lack of new entrants to the bitcoin development space since 2013. Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Corallo stated:
There are a ton of Bitcoin developers who have never contributed to Bitcoin Core, or to low protocol development — lots of them because they feel ill-equipped to do so — for instance because the idea of going through a rigorous review like we have to do sounds really daunting. So we’re looking for those people to really learn how that works, and come to think about the issues.
Learning from Ethereum
Ethereum featured heavily in the redacted transcript of last month’s closed-door meeting between bitcoin miners and bitcoin core developers with particular emphasis on what appears to be lessons learned from the way Ethereum handled the successful hardfork.
Suggestions were made for the establishment of a Bitcoin Foundation to better coordinate and communicate, but the idea seems to have been rejected due to hesitations that it may create the appearance of bitcoin’s development being too centralized.
Many bitcoiners have, however, criticized bitcoin’s development for being centralized due to their heavy handed control of communication channels as shown by the recent banning of Dr. Peter Rizun, Managing Editor at LedgerJournal, from an IRC channel where much bitcoin development discussion takes place. The banning was by a Bitcoin Core developer, illustrating a very unwelcoming atmosphere to newcomers.
Perhaps that may change as Ethereum shows eagerness to go out of their way to welcome everyone, especially if they have skills.
Does Ethereum and Bitcoin Need to Compete?
One of the most surprising statements out of the transcript was a reply by a bitcoin core developer to a Google engineer’s question on whether bitcoin developers and ethereum developers co-operate:
We don’t generally communicate well.
Some bitcoiners seem to have an antagonistic attitude towards Ethereum seemingly just because it is not bitcoin. This is clearly indicated by the events of last month where many bitcoiners tried to create chaos by propping up a chain discarded by Ethereum’s community. But, do they need to compete and are they even addressing the same market?
Ethereum and Bitcoin are different at the protocol level, but more importantly, they differ considerably at the cultural and philosophical level. Due to bitcoin’s development history, the community and developers seem to be addressing a certain market which would probably not want to use ethereum and would probably not be welcomed by ethereum’s community. This is clearly illustrated by a Bitcoin Core developer stating in the transcript that they wish to grow slowly.
Of course, bitcoin is a vast community with different users, philosophies, and there recently was a report that bitcoin’s use for “non-vice” activities was surpassing other activities. Ethereum, however, is more keen to appeal to mainstream users, including corporations and even banks, seeing the project as primarily a technology, rather than an ideology. They seem, therefore, to place different emphasis on certain principles, such as valuing adaptability more than immutability.
The two digital currencies, therefore, address different markets, allowing them to happily co-exist, with the success of one aiding, rather than hampering, the other in a symbiotic relationship. As such, it may be time to realize that there are two communities with different principles and markets, but fundamentally share much in common thus complement each other as the success of one, is the success of both.
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