No, Bitcoin (BTC) Not Controlled by Five People: CoinShares Debunks Toxic Narrative

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Vladislav Sopov

Wall Street Journal releases alarmist article following Wladimir van der Laan stepping down from Bitcoin Core lead maintainer’s role


Wladimir van der Laan, one of the most prominent active Bitcoin (BTC) developers, finally lost access to Bitcoin Core GitHub’s repository. Wall Street Journal raised concerns about the roadblocks of the process of Bitcoin (BTC) development, but CoinShares’ James Butterfill deobfuscated the narrative about “centralized Bitcoin Core.”

CoinShares head of research slams misconceptions about developers who “control” Bitcoin (BTC)

In his column, James Butterfill, head of research at CoinShares, a top-tier digital asset management firm, reflects on the recent wave of hype around the growing centralization of the process of Bitcoin Core development.

He stressed that any developer with a GitHub account can propose a change to Bitcoin Core, a client software for Bitcoin (BTC) network. Every proposal undergoes stringent multi-month peer review procedures. Even the actions of maintainers themselves are subject to these reviews.

That’s why this process is a result of collaboration between the participants of a thriving and passionate ecosystem that lives according to its balanced battle-tested principles:

Over the last month, 29 authors have pushed 177 commits to the master branch, and 184 commits to all branches, excluding merges. Our estimates suggest that there are around 300 active developers/contributors in the Bitcoin Github across 1000 individual repositories, making it a very large and active developer environment

Taking all these facts into account, we should not overestimate the role of maintainers, i.e., high-level Bitcoin (BTC) developers coordinating the progress of the largest blockchain.

As covered by U.Today, Bitcoin Core is a direct successor of the original “peer-to-peer electronic cash system” proposed by mysterious enthusiast Satoshi Nakamoto over 14 years ago.

Burnout, health issues, legal risks, poor compensations: What makes devs leave Bitcoin Core?

The “hype” against centralization of the Bitcoin Core development process is not new. Last week it was triggered yet again by Bitcoin’s Future Depends on a Handful of Mysterious Coders article of WSJ’s Paul Kiernan.

Kiernan told the story of developers leaving Bitcoin Core one after another. As per the text, at least three developers stepped down from their roles after Wladimir van der Laan.

While the legendary third lead maintainer of Bitcoin (BTC) ceased his activity due to health issues and burnout, some other devs stopped contributing due to legal risks. Also, as mentioned by the author, the medium size of one-year grant for Bitcoin Core developers is 50-60% lower than the middle software developer salary in U.S. big tech heavyweights.