Crypto exchanges OKCoin and BitMEX recently partnered to sponsor a prolific open-source Bitcoin Core contributor, Amiti Uttarwar.
Uttarwar is an alumna of Coinbase, the bitcoin custody startup Xapo and the Chaincode Labs residency. Over the past two years, she’s quickly become one of the industry’s most sought-after developers. According to Chaincode residency organizer Adam Jonas, Uttarwar’s work is focused on improving the privacy of bitcoin transactions.
“She is redesigning transaction rebroadcasts to prevent spy nodes from being able to map IP addresses to transaction broadcasts,” Jonas said, describing Uttarwar’s work involving internet protocols.
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Bitcoin Core contributor Gleb Naumenko, who also received a grant from BitMEX, estimated Uttarwar is now one of roughly 21 full-time Bitcoin Core developers with funding, out of 57 full-time developers, focused on open-source bitcoin projects at companies such as Lightning Labs and Blockstream.
“Only the most responsible users understand the importance of ‘roads’ and support their development,” Naumenko said, describing public goods Bitcoin funding. “I see many benefits in responsibility-based, non-forcible dev funding. It turned out that by 2020 we have several responsible ecosystem members like that.”
The 2020 grant for Uttarwar, worth roughly $150,000, will allow her to continue working on privacy tech related to bitcoin.
“Backing independent developers continues to be a priority for us as we seek to contribute to the long-term success and proliferation of the Bitcoin network,” OKCoin CEO Hong Fang said in a statement.
In the same press statement, which estimated only 40 developers are focused on bitcoin full time, BitMEX CTO Sam Reed added that “funding important work like Amiti’s improves the functionality of Bitcoin Core for everyone.”
“Her recent work adjusting how Bitcoin Core rebroadcasts unconfirmed transactions has improved Bitcoin’s privacy, a critical aspect of the protocol,” Reed said.
In addition to the main privacy-tech project, Uttarwar said she is also working to improve the ability to test peer-to-peer connections, plus spending “a lot of time reviewing pull requests, mentoring people and educating people on technical fundamentals” with blog posts and comics.
“The way I spend my energy and priority is being involved in Bitcoin Core. Beyond that I’m just excited about bitcoin and I like sharing the things I’ve learned with people,” she said. “It’s about what I uniquely can offer.”
She’s been working to reduce the leak of identifying information during bitcoin transactions. This isn’t necessary for bitcoin to function because leaked information is seen as waste.
“I want to continue making bitcoin more robust, more private and more scalable,” she said.