Applications for the third round of quarterly grants from the Bitcoin Foundation are due this Friday, September 20. Given historical precedent, grants are likely to be given to projects that aid in the development, security and testing of vital bitcoin infrastructure, but are not likely to be commercially viable.
Last quarter there was one recipient out of the twenty five project proposals submitted. The grant was given to Coinpunk, an open source software project that enables users to host wallets on servers they control, while also giving them access to their bitcoin via a web portal. This enables people to have the convenience of a hosted wallet, similar to those available on blockchain.info, while maintaining full control over the server on which the actual data files reside and reducing counterparty dependency. Coinpunk can offer greater decentralization of wallet hosting, but also requires experience managing servers.
Coinpunk lacks a clear path to profitability, but contributes a significant step forward in the greater bitcoin infrastructure – particularly for those who value decentralization – which falls in line with the stated criteria for grants. The first quarter of this year saw two grants from the Bitcoin Foundation given under ostensibly similar qualifications. The first was for a new Testnet to experiment with new versions of the bitcoin protocol, and the second for a project that supported the first – a DNS seed that makes it easier for Testnet nodes to connect to the network. The size of the grants has not yet been disclosed, but are likely based on need, given the cost estimation requirement of the application process.
Notably, grants are not expected to be given for development of the bitcoin protocol itself, as indicated in a Bitcoin Foundation blog post earlier this year. Recipients are also expected to update the foundation regularly on their progress. As can be seen from Kyle Drake of Coinpunk’s GitHub account, that seems to be no problem for last quarter’s recipient.
The Bitcoin Foundation offers instructions on how to apply. Recipients are expected to be announced in mid- to late-October.