An Experiment in Open Source
One year ago, I decided that I was going to commit to changing careers to become a full time software developer. I recorded a podcast on that journey here, if you feel so inclined.
Since then, I have accomplished the following things:
– Left the US military (podcast on the story)
– Finished Bloomtech (formerly known as Lambda School)’s full stack developer program (i took a year of part time night classes while I rode Uncle Sam’s wild ride)
– Did some freelance development work for a couple of Bitcoin companies
– Contributed to a couple of Free and Open Source software projects in Bitcoin
– Received a sponsorship to attend Base58 (thanks to whoever you are that sponsored me)
I am still learning everyday, but I am now at the point where I feel confident in my ability to learn new technical skills and write working code (after I fix the bugs of course). Along with this growth, comes the process of the job search in software.
Finding myself that dream job as a developer at blockstream or block would be awesome, but my professional network is small and my job experience as a full time software engineer is just getting started so working on FOSS is a close second and seems like the right next step.
I got into software because of Bitcoin. Bitcoin changed my outlook on the whole world. Bitcoin made me realize what kinds of things are possible with software. Satoshi changed the world without anyone ever knowing his name. He never put together a slide deck or an investor prospectus. He never did a seed round or sent anybody his resume. He didn’t ask for permission to do anything, he just built software that solved a problem he had identified.
Maybe that’s what I should do too. Improve people’s lives with software.
This got me thinking. If people are willing to pay for me to attend base58, or pay me to do freelance work, or pay me for creating a meme website, maybe they would be willing to pay me to contribute to open source software. Yes, I’m junior, but I’m also pretty cheap.
I decided I’m going to conduct an experiment.
My goal: work on free and open source Bitcoin software for 1 year, full time.
How: Crowdfunding $5840 a month.
This would be enough for me to support my wife and kids while I work on open source full time.
I intend to personally bank roll my first month’s salary. Maybe this experiment will only last a month (lol) but I’m willing to give it a shot. Any money raised in excess of what I need to pay myself would go towards development & marketing resources.
What: I want a project that checks all of my boxes (my thinking around this has changed since I wrote that article) for those who come to me and ask “What’s the best way to store my bitcoin”. A project that not only meets the various needs of every type of bitcoin user, from the minnow to the whale, but it directs them towards established, peer reviewed best practices for their particular situation.
A Free and Open Source software project that improves upon best practices in security and privacy in Bitcoin self custody and guides the user to the best solution for their particular circumstances.
I appreciate all the work from Yeti Cold, but at this point it’s basically a dead project. The code hasn’t been updated in years and I know plenty of people who refuse to use it simply because they don’t trust the folks who were behind it.
I want something to exist that:
- Is easy to spend from quickly offline.
- Doesn’t require handwriting seed words.
- Allows for multi sig but doesn’t allow someone to see your bitcoin balance if they find a single key (and descriptor)
- Has decaying multisig and uses vaults to sweep funds to safety to help solve for recoverability and inheritance
- Has optional compatibility with hardware wallets like seed signer, Trezor, cold card, and Jade.
- Utilizes the new possibilities enabled with taproot and miniscript to improve speed, privacy, reliability and efficiency
This project is ambitious and beyond my skill set. But I know it will be fun and I know it will be useful and I know if other people (smarter than me) want to see this happen, they may just stop by and help support the effort
Here is arctica project’s github (not much to show just yet as this is a fork of the existing code), if you want to follow along at home.
And here is a Tallycoin page where you can donate to this venture (if you so choose, no pressure) in Bitcoin.
I’m looking for supporters…not just monetarily, but code reviewers & contributors, and more importantly, users, who are willing to not only test the software, but are actually excited to use it. Right now the approach is going to be painting with a broad brush, but if you have any ideas you’d like to share, please feel free to reach out to me on twitter or open up an issue on Github.
Details on the fundraiser:
To fund myself as a software developer, full time, in making cold storage of large amounts of bitcoin more secure and private than any other asset. This will be done by contributing to and creating free open source software.
I need $5,840 per month to cover living expenses. The funds will be held by me and spent directly on living expenses while working on open source software a minimum of 50 hours a week. At minimum I will publish a monthly report on the work I have accomplished, what I hope to accomplish next month and the current state of funding.
If funding reaches more than 6 months of future living expenses I will publicly appoint at least 2-3 additional people to hold these funds in a cold storage multi-sig quorum and dispense them as they are needed and to make sure the funds are being spent correctly.