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Bitcoin Core Lead Maintainer Steps Back, Encourages Decentralization

"One thing is clear: this is a serious project today, and we have to begin taking decentralization seriously," said Wladimir van der Laan.

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Bitcoin Core Lead Maintainer Steps Back, Encourages Decentralization

Bitcoin Core lead maintainer Wladimir van der Laan has opted to take"even more" of a"background function" for the interest of additional decentralizing the project, according to a new blog post.

While van der Laan's work is largely"janitorial" in character, making sure the job's code proceeds easily, some in the neighborhood view him as a leader of sorts. As van der Laan sets it, he's become a type of"centralized bottleneck."

His statement comes after finding himself in the midst of controversy on Thursday. Some Bitcoin users didn't enjoy his decision to pull the white paper from bitcoincore.org, after legal threats from Craig Wright. However, van der Laan asserts that this decision to pull back from Center is just one he has been considering for a while.

"I will start with delegating my very own tasks, and diminishing my participation. I do not intend to quit donating to Bitcoin, or to the Bitcoin Core undertaking, but I would love to eliminate myself from the critical path and accept (even more) of a desktop role," he wrote.

Decentralizing Bitcoin Core development
He thinks this move will help to decentralize the undertaking, a digital currency that's supposed to not have any leaders. "One thing is clear: this is a serious project today, and we need to begin taking decentralization badly," van der Laan wrote.

His conclusion is part of a much larger effort to decentralize the undertaking. For instance, 2020 saw a wave of Bitcoin companies doling out grants to programmers working on the underlying protocol fulltime.

Exchange OKCoin, for example, is funding Marco Falke, who is the most active maintainer behind van der Laan in terms of commits -- signal changes which have been successfully added to the job. Popular exchange Coinbase is now supporting two programmers too, after receiving many requests to do so from the community. Several other businesses have joined them in distributing grants over the previous year.

Bitcoin Core contributor John Newbery established non-profit Brink for mentoring and funding more developers too, in an effort to get even more contributors involved, especially from diverse backgrounds.

Indeed, van der Laan notes in his article that he's not the very busy Bitcoin Core maintainer, as many other people have joined ranks over time.

Plushe summarizes other ideas for decentralizing the project. For example, Bitcoincore.org is just one of the major websites where users may download new versions of this Bitcoin Core code. Nonetheless, it is independently owned and centralized. He suggests moving it to an organization.

"Bitcoin is quite different in a few of the requirements here from other [open-source and free applications ] projects, therefore we are going to have to create some resources as we proceed," van der Laan wrote. "We could also, definitely, use some help here."

He's asked other programmers to measure up to take his place as the leader of their weekly Bitcoin Core development assembly, where developers talk pressing following steps.

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