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Gemini Donates $50K to HRF to Help Fund Another Round of Bitcoin Developers in 2021

The Human Rights Foundation has secured donations from the Gemini cryptocurrency exchange to fund even more Bitcoin developers in 2021.

Dec 1, 2020 at 5:44 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:36 a.m. UTC

The Human Rights Foundation has secured donations to fund even more Bitcoin developers in 2021, and it’s capping off 2020 by adding another beneficiary to its grant program. 

Shared exclusively with CoinDesk, the Winklevoss’ Gemini cryptocurrency exchange is donating $50,000 to the Human Rights Foundation to fund “open source software which [improves] the privacy, usability, and resilience of the Bitcoin Network.”

The fresh funding comes on the same day the Human Rights Foundation is announcing its sponsorship of yet another developer, Gloria Zhao. An undergrad at UC Berkeley and president of Blockchain at Berkley, Zhao contributes to Bitcoin Core and is working on a project that would improve how “grouped” transactions are relayed. This advancement would, among other things, help with opening and closing payment channels on the Lightning Network.

Gloria Zhao

Zhao’s grant comes from the third round of the Human Rights Foundation’s funding. Its first grant this summer went to U.K. Bitcoin developer Chris Belcher for work on the privacy-improving Coinswap protocol. 

A second round went to Evan Kaloudis for work on Zeus, a Bitcoin wallet with a full-node interface; Fontaine, the pseudonymous developer behind  Fully Noded, another Bitcoin full-node and wallet software; and Openoms, a pseudonymous developer who is working on an easy-to-use interface for JoinMarket, a privacy tool for mixing Bitcoin transactions.

Cryptocurrency exchanges supporting Bitcoin developers

The new funding from Gemini will go towards a new crop of sponsored developers in Q1 of 2021. Human Rights Foundation Chief Strategy Officer Alex Gladstein told CoinDesk that the foundation has already received many proposals and expects more to come. 

Adding to an increasing trend where crypto businesses will donate money to fund Bitcoin protocol development, Gemini joins a growing list of cryptocurrency exchanges, including Coinbase, Bitmex, OKCoin, Kraken, and Square Crypto, which have sponsored Bitcoin developers. Notably, the $50K funding is the second such grant from Gemini this month after it donated to Brink, an open-source Bitcoin development fund partly led by Bitcoin Core developer John Newberry.

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