Bountysource Now Lets You Fund Open-Source Projects with Bitcoin

Kadhim Shubber
Apr 29, 2014 at 15:11 UTC
Updated Apr 30, 2014 at 13:22 UTC

Updated 30 April 11:02 GMT: Q&A with Bountysource founder David Rappo included below

Bountysource, a funding platform for open-source software, has finally integrated bitcoin payments.

The site allows open-source developers to earn money by completing jobs posted by ‘backers’ who offer ‘bounties’ – payments, in effect.

Payment with bitcoin has been on the cards since at least March 2013, with the idea resurfacing at the start of this year.

Bountysource founder David Rappo wrote in a blogpost:

“Many of you have been requesting bitcoin support on Bountysource for a while, so we’re thrilled to announce that it’s now live.”

Bountysource is using Coinbase to process bitcoin payments. Rappo has previously said he would consider including litcoin and dogecoin payments, which Coinbase doesn’t support.

“LTC and DOGE are certainly possible, but less likely in the near future […] If Coinbase adds support for more cryptocurrencies this would make the decision a lot easier,” said Rappo on Github in January.

The lack of funding for open-source projects was recently highlighted by the Heartbleed bug in the OpenSSL protocol used by around two-thirds of websites.

OpenSSL had just one person working full-time on the project. Since then, tech giants including Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Cisco and Amazon have pledged to donate $3m in total to open source projects over the next three years. OpenSSL now also accepts bitcoin donations.

Originally founded in 2004 as a project management platform for open-source projects, Bountysource relaunched in 2012 as a crowdfunding platform and raised $1.1 million in seed funding in 2013.

CoinDeskBitcoin integration has been a long time coming – what’s that process been like and what’s taken so long? Back in March 2013 you said “a few weeks”.

David Rappo: All of us are huge supporters of Bitcoin and have have wanted to support it even before that blog post. We started development about a year ago and got 80% of the way but the last 20% is always the hardest. We had some interface usability concerns around supporting dual currencies; we had some internal accounting and taxation concerns; and we had other product priorities come up. In the end, we decided to put Bitcoin support on hold for a while.

CD: Why do you think there’s been a demand for bitcoin from your community?

DR: It makes perfect sense. Bitcoin and open-source software are incredibly complimentary. The software and protocols powering Bitcoin are open-source. The early adopters of Bitcoin were highly technical and often software developers themselves. And, as Bitcoin continues to gain traction, the need for a more efficient development platform becomes obvious. On the administrative side of things, Bitcoin solves a lot of problems around payments to an international development community.

CD: Will you be including LTC and DOGE? (I’m thinking of this discussion from last year)

DR: We’ll be adding limited support for LTC, DOGE, and several others in the coming weeks. In all cases, users will be able to view our site in these currencies. In some cases, users will be able to get paid in these currencies. Unfortunately, we likely won’t allow users to pay using these currencies until there are more mature merchants tools (i.e. Coinbase).

CD: More generally, what are your thoughts on the recent discussion about the lack of funding for open source projects (for example, OpenSSL). Are we getting closer to rectifying that?

DR: The Heartbleed fiasco has certainly shed light on the conversation, but we have a long way to go. Marc Andreessen famously stated that “software is eating the world” and is disrupting almost every industry. This wouldn’t be possible without the vast universe of open-source software that exists today. But, it’s important to understand that, as the software world continues changing and accelerating, what is available today will not be sufficient for tomorrow. When you combine this constant need for new development with disruptive ideas like cryptocurrencies and crowdfunding, it’s clear that there are going to be fundamental changes with how software is built. Needless to say, these concepts are at the heart of Bountysource.

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