The conception of BitcoinACKs by Pierre Rochard has just rolled out a new feature called the Pledge option. The new embedded features allow users to commit funding to a specific protocol improvement once the improvement is inculcated into the Bitcoin Core, it is used to pay developers for it.
BitcoinACKs is in the business of aggregating pull requests for protocol improvements from the Bitcoin Core Github. A pressing question that has been doing the rounds is if Bitcoin is decentralized, how is its development being funded. The question is valid, but the answers are also equally valid. Apart from volunteer Bitcoin developers, BitcoinACKs now will allow its users to pledge payment for their suggested protocol upgrades if applied.
BitcoinACKs was a result of the scaling conflicts that took place in 2017. There was a pandemonium of debates about block size increases which made Rochard believe that a methodical and transparent depot of Bitcoin’s development is imperative for Bitcoin’s building community and its consumers. He said,
“After the 2017 scaling drama, I decided to get more informed about the Bitcoin open-source development process and see if I could find ways to be helpful. One challenge I had was finding pull requests with specific criteria I was interested in taking a look at pull requests that were old but had good reviews, pull requests that had been rejected by reviewers, etcetera.”
Pledge payment for Bitcoin development
BitcoinACKs agglomerates pull request comments from developers from Github, so that they could track the pull request appropriately. Every request comes with an upvote or downvote, the author, the date of the request generation, the reviewer, the last commit made in the repository, and if the request has been merged into a Bitcoin Core library so that it could be deployed in a protocol update. The ledge features added recently allows anyone to pledge to pay the contributors for their work on specific pull requests. The pledged payment can be executed through lightning or on-chain payments processed through the BTCPay server.
The funders will have the liberty to choose which developer they would want to pay. There will be no penalties or enforcements for holding a user to their pledge because they can pay out a pledge when they want. But there is too much flaking on payments, Rochard will ensure appropriate action is taken which could include distinct log contracts to generate smart contracts-backed settlement.
Interests at stake
The concept is novel in Bitcoin’s open source ecosystem. Prior to this, there was no mechanism that allowed direct fund upgrades. But the tools here make it possible and also have an underhand mechanism to drive development with free-market principles. So, it is a double-edged sword wherein the user requirements are fulfilled and the developer’s efforts are effectively rewarded.
As against individual pledges, Corporate grants also will work wonders.
“I think corporate grants work great for funding a specific subset of open source work: independent, self-directed work. It’s funding a public good that has positive externalities on the ecosystem, and I think every profitable business should be doing it,” Rochard said.