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Latinos Are Majority in Chaincode Labs’ Bitcoin Study Program

Eleven Latin Americans participated in the study program on Bitcoin at Chaincode Labs, a company focused on supporting the development of this protocol with financing and education.

The program began on January 20, 2021 online, at the invitation of Caralie Chrisco, Chaincode Labs’ People Operations Manager, and ended on Wednesday, February 17.

The content of the study group is openly available on the Chaincode Labs GitHub, although undoubtedly the main benefit is in discussing these topics with high-level mentors, such as Matt Corallo, Alex Bosworth and Andrew Poelstra.

CriptoNoticias learned that 11 Latin American professionals were recruited to participate in this study group. Nelson Ganderman, Julian Rodriguez, Carlos Sims, Abel Armoa, Alfredo Garcia, Ivan Costa, David Rodriguez, Hernan Marino, Marcelo Bianchi, Francisco Calderon and Dulce Villarreal; the latter, the only female developer in a group of 15 participants in total in this program.

Francisco Calderón and Dulce Villarreal spoke with CriptoNoticias about the achievements obtained during the program and their professional plans. Both aim to dedicate themselves full time to the development of Bitcoin, a cause that does not always have financial support, but that is becoming an increasingly valuable and necessary specialization.

What do you aspire to accomplish with your time through the Chaincode Labs Bitcoin study program?

Francisco Calderón (FC): I am getting the most out of the program and I hope it will be my foundation to start in this long process of becoming a Bitcoin developer. The Chaincode Labs study program is giving us the tools to do just that.

Dulce Villareal (DV): Since my beginnings in Bitcoin in 2015, my goal has been to become an expert in the field. Today I realize that yes, a specialization is possible, but humbly, we all continue to learn from Bitcoin.

It is a fascinating subject, a very beautiful universe of knowledge. My goal in this program was to tap into the knowledge of the Bitcoin Core developers that we have as mentors, as well as other participants. I also aspire to provide knowledge and educate about Bitcoin, make it more accessible to everyone, especially those of us who speak Spanish.

What challenges or obstacles do you identify in Bitcoin and deserve a solution? How do you make it?

FC: As a requirement to participate in the program we must have read the book Mastering Bitcoin [NdR: escrito por Andreas Antonopoulos en 2015], so we must have some knowledge on the subject. About the challenges encountered throughout the history of Bitcoin, we have commented from double spending and the problem of the Byzantine generals, to episodes such as the activation of SegWit in the protocol (2017). We discuss them and learn how they have been solved.

DV: The history of Bitcoin is studied and past, present and future problems are identified. I like to think in positive terms and that there are many more improvements than problems. As a programmer you can go to the GitHub repository and work on the issues you like the most and make a modification proposal or Pull Request (PR).

As a programmer, what is the hardest thing to learn from Bitcoin?

FC: The hardest thing about learning to program in Bitcoin is understanding all the contextual knowledge. You have to know a lot about different areas such as cryptography, peer-to-peer architecture (Person to Person or P2P), communication protocols and financial systems, among other things. Also, you have to understand the internal behavior of Bitcoin, which is quite a large system.

DV: As I mentioned, Bitcoin is a beautiful and complex universe of knowledge. Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin with the knowledge of many great researchers and scientists, to name a few: Haber and Stornetta (timestamps), Adam Back (Hashcash), David Chaum (Digital Cash), Nick Szabo (Smart Contracts) and Ralph Merkle (Merkle Trees); among others. What I mean is that Bitcoin is a revolutionary innovation sustained in so many fields, that for each person it becomes a different experience.

What is being discussed about the scalability of Bitcoin?

DV: Scalability is a very important issue, as it implies having more transactions per second, which will allow more people to use Bitcoin. I hope that we can find more solutions very soon that reduce the price of the network’s commissions or fees.

We have studied the Lightning network in this program as well, but I am sure more second layer solutions (Layer 2, L2) will come. I hope they can be developed and launched from Latin America.

FC: In agreement.

What are your career goals with Bitcoin development?

DV: My goal has always been to learn and share my knowledge. Education is a key issue for the development of a person or a nation. I am also sure that Bitcoin represents a unique opportunity for our region in innovation and improvement of the quality of life through financial inclusion.

Latinos and Spanish speakers are increasingly interested in learning about Bitcoin. Source: vicwag / pixabay.com

FC: I don’t currently work for any company. I decided to dedicate myself exclusively to learning about the development of Bitcoin and the Rust language. If I don’t do it like that, it would be very difficult to study as I want. I will take a few months of study and then I will look for other opportunities, preferably in Bitcoin. My goal is to be a full-time Lightning developer, which is difficult to achieve since most of the time you need a sponsor or sponsor.

Efforts continue to be added to incentivize the development of Bitcoin

As the interviewees point out, Bitcoin development does not have the reputation of being considered a formal job, being a collaborative, public and open project. However, more and more developers are devoting themselves full time to this work, receiving significant funding from organizations that, for commercial or charitable reasons, support Bitcoin Core developers around the world.

Recently, Pieter Wuille, who worked for Blockstream and is one of the pioneer developers of Bitcoin Core, joined Chaincode Labs to collaborate full time on this protocol, as we reported in CryptoNews.

Also, developer Jonas Schnelli signed an agreement to receive USD 96,000 per year for working on Bitcoin Core. Although the specialist did not consider it a high figure compared to what he believes he could earn elsewhere, his commitment to Bitcoin encourages him to work with an important purpose for humanity.

The opposite case is that of developer Marco Falke, who last year received the support of the OkCoin exchange for a figure of more than USD 100,000, but will continue to work autonomously in the development of Bitcoin Core, focused mainly on the review of proposals.

Academic programs like the one at Chaincode Labs are also an efficient method of spreading Bitcoin and instructing both high-level professionals, beginners or enthusiasts. It should be noted that the Chaincode study group is not aimed exclusively at developers, but rather professionals from other areas can also participate.

So far it is unknown when the next edition of the Chaincode Labs program will be, but more will come this year. Last year, this study group was stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to be resumed in mid-2020. The path to training more Bitcoin developers continues.