Bitcoin is one of the most significant open-source projects of all time; in as little as 13 years, it’s grown from software run on a few computers to a global industry. Its incentive structure has attracted many contributors to help build out this parallel financial system, as its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin, and everyone can take part.
Anyone can boot up a miner and support the security of the network, anyone can fork the code and work on it to provide alternative solutions, and anyone can build applications that talk to the bitcoin network. Through many of its unique properties, such as the in-build monetary incentives, Bitcoin allows exciting uses that could not be covered by any previous payment eco-system.
While venture capital flocks into the space to fund projects that can be monetised in the future, there are parts of bitcoin that remain resistant to corporate capture, and that is the open source community. These individuals are committed to creating software solutions that improve the bitcoin network, such as wallets and other applications and make them available for free.
Open source software solutions provide more optionality for users and allow them to freely switch between methods of interacting with the bitcoin network.
What does open source mean?
The fundamental idea behind Open Source is as old as computing itself. It’s usually the idea of working together with a fairly small community of scientists, researchers and engineers who share their progress and knowledge freely and openly with each other. The idea of finding projects to contribute to online and the spreading of the internet led to the Open Source Initiative in 1998, which was founded as a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting open-source software and principles.
Among other things, these principles include free distribution and public access to an application’s source code. This means that anyone can download, modify and redistribute the software, that is FOSS (Free Open Source Software).
What is open collaboration?
The success and prominence of the Open Source movement opened the door for a whole new concept of collaborative work. While Open Source as a movement might not be a household name, it is one of the reasons why projects you know function today. Peer production – like Torrents, Wikipedia, TEDx and also Bitcoin – are as successful examples of open source contributions.
While there are usually few hierarchies and only loose ties between the different collaborators in Open Source projects, this work organisation enforces goal-driven and usually very pragmatic approaches. Since open source projects allow anyone to contribute, open collaboration software projects also attract talented people from all over the world, yielding creativity, innovation and diversity that commercial software cannot.
Another key difference is that people who contribute to open source software projects usually do this in their spare time, out of interest and passion about the topic or project they are working on and because they have first-hand experience with a problem.
What is OpenSats?
OpenSats is committed to providing a platform that takes no fees and ensures that 100% of the donations received from community members pass through to projects and the general fund made via our platform. What’s great about OpenSats is they review projects and ensure that they only support free and open source bitcoin projects and related free and open source projects.
The nifty thing about supporting open source projects is that even if a project runs out of momentum or the original creators leave, the code is still available for anyone to pick up and run with and can attract contributors from around the world.
If you are thinking about donating to bitcoin projects but want to support projects with a trusted track record, then OpenSats might be a better option.
How to support projects on OpenSats
Head over to the OpenSats website, select projects and scroll through the ones listed on the site, and read up on what their plans are and what they aim to achieve with the current year of funding. If you find one you like, click on the donate option, and you’ll be presented with a donation form.
You can submit completely anonymous if you like or provide your contact details should you use this donation as a tax-deductible event.
Once you’ve selected your preferred option, pick one of the preset donation amounts or set your amount and the payment method you prefer.
If you select bitcoin, You can donate in satoshis on the base chain or Lightning, through OpenSats BTCPay server, or you can pay with filthy fiat using your credit card, which is facilitated by Stripe.
Donate through value for value
The third way you can support OpenSats is through podcasting 2.0 apps like Fountain; if you’re subscribed to the Citadel Dispatch podcast, and you’re set to streaming sats, or you’re sending in a boost message, part of those sats will be donated to the OpenSats fund. It’s a great way to support projects and stay up to date with how these projects are progressing, with Odell providing regular updates.
This option is perfect for those who don’t have a specific project they want to support but are happy to continue contributing sats to the OpenSats fund regularly.
How to get funding from OpenSats
As a supporter of free and open source projects everywhere, OpenSats must support specific projects which help to further the bitcoin mission. They focus on projects that will have a direct impact on the utility or adoption of Bitcoin. OpenSats will consider all projects, but they have a specific bias towards projects that are not readily funded and which have an obvious benefit to the Bitcoin community and ecosystem.
Potential projects that would be of interest are:
- Bitcoin Core contributions,
- Scientific/security research
- Code review
- Design/UX improvements
Once you submit your pitch and it is approved OpenSats will create a project page on our website (opensats.org/projects) where site visitors can learn more about your project and donate if they choose to. Your project will be listed for one year.
After one year, you will be prompted to re-send your application should you wish to be listed again. OpenSats also distributes grants from a general fund, and you may also choose to apply for a grant below.
Submitting your project to OpenSats
If your project meets these requirements and you’re looking for funding to either expand or focus more of your energies on the project instead of on your fiat mining job, then visit the OpenSats website and select the “List Your Project” option and complete the form. If the OpenSats team like your pitch, some fresh sats could be coming your way.
Because Open Sats is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, all projects listed on the website must be vetted by their board of directors to ensure that they help us further our mission of supporting contributors to Bitcoin and related free and open source projects.
Donate to open source projects
There you have it, another way to get involved in supporting bitcoin and the various projects that are doing their best to improve access to bitcoin and drive adoption. Contributing to OpenSats is not a must for every bitcoiner, but if you have a few sats to spare, and enjoy the use of any of the open source software stack in bitcoin, then you may want to consider funding the plebs making it possible and keeping you free of big tech only options.
If you’d like to learn more about the app or give it a try, check out the links below.