Privacy software provider WhisperSystems has announced that it is integrating bitcoin with open-source code hosting site GitHub to launch a new service, Bithub. This service will offer the company's developers an easy and fair way to fund their work on its open-source security systems.
WhisperSystems runs multiple free encryption applications for storage, messaging and calls on both Apple and Android platforms. Once such application, TextSecure, replaces a device's default messaging service so that SMS messages sent and received by the user are encrypted.
All the company's applications are created via open-source repositories – meaning that their code is public, and belongs to everyone and no one at once. Consequently, the security of WhisperSystems' applications can be verified by anyone at any time, and users are not charged for downloads, nor will they ever be.
Because open-source projects often rival bigger corporate efforts (and are free to use), those who are interested in using the final products must fund them themselves.
Allocating and tracking funds
In the past, WhisperSystems has had great difficulty tracking exactly who was working on what. Thus, money donated to the TextSecure project, for example, could be allocated to a developer working on RedPhone instead. BitHub is the solution to this discrepancy.
Bitcoin donations made through BitHub are collected and held in one large fund, which is then divided up and allocated to those who commit to working on a specific application.
WhisperSystems has set up five repositories on BitHub which reflect the various projects currently underway: Android RedPhone, Android TextSecure, TextSecure Server, iOS TextSecure and BitHub.
This system allows for donations to be assigned to a specific project more easily. For instance, a developer who completes work on RedPhone will receive a portion of the project's large fund of donated bitcoin.
WhisperSystems has also taken steps to ensure all their activities remain transparent. Donators are able to see how their donations are being utilized, as the resource allocations are clearly displayed on BitHub.
In addition, the organization is currently working on a feature which will allow donations to be given to specific issues faced when building each application.
GitHub has a webpage for each project where developers can post questions, comments, and issues they are facing and interact with other coders to help solve these problems.
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