20 BTC bounty from Human Rights Foundation up for grabs to improve Bitcoin network

The foundation also offered a bounty of 3 BTC in December 2021 to increase the usability and privacy of Bitcoin Lightning wallets


cdd20/Unsplash modified by Blockworks


The Human Rights Foundation has issued 10 separate bounties, each worth 2 BTC, in an effort to make Bitcoin and the Lightning Network easier and more private to use.

That totals up to 20 BTC, and the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) said on its website that more bounties may be added in the future. 

This is right in line with the organization’s goal to chip away at authoritarianism. By some estimates, fewer than a fifth of the world’s population live in free, democratic regimes. The HRF believes that bitcoin, in particular, could be a way to stave off centralized government control of money— something almost every human being is reliant on to exist in society.

HRF Chief Strategy Officer Alex Gladstein added that Bitcoin allows journalists, human rights defenders and dissidents to continue receiving donations “even if their banking and fintech apps are paralyzed” by draconian government actors.

The foundation will share submissions for all of the 10 bitcoin challenges with “external industry experts” to verify their accuracy and workability, HRF said. 

There’s also quite a bit of time to submit, since the HRF will accept applications on the bounties all the way up until Dec. 31, 2024. Any unclaimed bounties will revert back into the coffers of the HRF’s Bitcoin Development Fund, a donation pool that was launched in 2020. 

The first two challenges focus on user control and privacy on the network.

The first one is to make the Bitcoin UI kit open source on Penpot. Currently the UI kit is only available in Figma file format, which is a problem for most people because Figma is proprietary software priced up to $75 per month. Penpot is completely free.

The second challenge involves deploying a production-ready version 2 payjoin protocol that can send and receive Payjoin transactions without either party having to operate a public server. 

The other challenges deal with improving elements of services adjacent to the actual Bitcoin network. 

Challenge no. 3 can be completed if someone figures out how to create end-to-end encrypted Nostr group chats. The HRF also wants someone to create a self-custodial mobile Lightning address generator integrated into a wallet on iOS or Android. 

The HRF previously launched a bitcoin bounty with Lightning Network payments platform Strike in December 2021. There were three challenges, each worth 3 BTC, and the contest ran until Dec. 31, 2022.

Gladstein told Blockworks that two of the bounties were claimed. William Casarin claimed the Lightning tip jar bounty. Casarin would go on to create Damus, which recently ran into quite a bit of trouble with the Apple App Store for its bitcoin tipping feature.

The E-Cash bounty, which is now Cashu, was also claimed, Gladstein said.

Updated July 28, 2023 at 1:33 pm ET: Added comment from HRF Chief Strategy Officer Alex Gladstein.

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