HDR Global Trading Limited, which is the company behind BitMEX, has announced that they are paying $100,000 to Bitcoin Core developer Gleb Naumenko. This continues a trend of Bitcoin (BTC) development becoming more and more commercialized.
As discussed in a previous Crypto.IQ article, almost all Bitcoin Core developers are now funded by various major crypto corporations including BitMEX, Square, Xapo, and Blockstream.
This is in sharp contrast to the early days of Bitcoin (BTC) where the developers were not paid to develop by any corporations, and this presents a centralization problem since instead of developing Bitcoin’s (BTC) code in an unbiased way, developers now have a major incentive to do the bidding of the corporations which fund them.
Indeed, although Bitcoin Core developer Naumenko is getting $100,000, he will be paid monthly like a regular employee, increasing the incentive for Naumenko to do what BitMEX desires.
Before this latest $100,000 grant, BitMEX had already been heavily involved in funding Bitcoin Core developers, including giving $100,000 to developer Michael Ford in March, as well as donating money to the MIT Digital Currency Initiative in 2019 in order to fund developers Wladimir van der Laan and Cory Fields.
Of course, it is completely possible that these BitMEX donations are benevolent and benign, especially since hundreds of thousands of dollars is only a tiny amount of money for BitMEX. However, it is also completely possible that BitMEX is trying to take control of the Bitcoin Core development process for their own benefit.
In any case, it seems there is no way to prevent this sort of thing, since Bitcoin Core development is an intensive process, and developers need to be paid. That being said, the crypto community should be highly skeptical of any changes made to Bitcoin Core, since for-profit private corporations are funding almost all of the development process at this point.