There are only three Bitcoin Core stewards left, so does its development tend to be centralized?

Key facts:
  • Even if the current Bitcoin moderators disappear, it is possible to continue their development.

  • As Bitcoin grows, its developers become more vulnerable to potential pressure.

Jonas Schnelli’s resignation has been reduced to just three developers with privileged access to the Bitcoin Core Github, who work full-time as custodians of the Bitcoin token. A fact like this can leave in the environment the feeling that decisions to modernize and develop the major cryptocurrency will be concentrated in the hands of very few. This could be worrying now that Bitcoin is an asset that exceeds $1.1 billion. But is Bitcoin really centralized?

In principle, it is necessary to be clear that the importance of Bitcoin Core It lies in the fact that it was the software client that made the existence of Bitcoin possible. It is based on the original coding of the protocol, created by Satoshi Nakamoto. This has made it the most popular application for those who participate in the network, so much so that according to CoinDance CharactersAnd Almost 99% of active Bitcoin nodes are using it.

The Bitcoin Core client is updated and developed using the open contributor model. That is, anyone can contribute to the development of the project, through peer reviews, tests and corrections, as indicated in their project GitHub repository. However, a merit hierarchy system operates, with supervisors playing an essential role.

Repository maintainers are frequent contributors who have earned the trust and respect of the community for the quantity and quality of their contributions to the bitcoin code. for them They are assigned to “commit to access” the project repository, so they are responsible for integrating updates into the code.

malicious maintenance

Now, could it be a risk to Bitcoin that the permissions to add changes to the Bitcoin code are in the hands of so few people? In theory, it is entirely possible for three people to conspire or be forced to make changes that are not authorized by society. however, The model that develops Bitcoin can ideally serve as a containment against malicious actors, even if they are located in a privileged position within the structure.

It must be remembered that Bitcoin is an open source project. This has some important implications. In principle, anyone can audit the code and see if the change does not comply with the changes approved by the community, so that the malicious update can simply be rejected by most nodes. Then, if the “malicious” moderators take over the Bitcoin Core repository, it will be resolved as easily as creating a new one, as these actors have no privileges.

Earlier this year, developer Wladimir Van Der Laan, the lead developer of Bitcoin Core, He announced that he has been away from this “stressful” work for a while. Currently, Adam Back, creator of the Proof of Work guide, stated that some members of the community tend to overestimate the role of Bitcoin Core developers. “Even if all the maintainers have a plane crash or a very unfortunate IT failure, a new github can be created,” Buck told news outlets.

heirs of Satoshi

According to a post on, some 15 People Get Confirmed Access to Bitcoin Core, including its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. Of this list, 6 maintain their access credentials, including Hennadii Stepanov (hebasto), who was awarded in April of this year for his UI contributions. This could mean that it may occupy the place that Jonas Schinelli recently relinquished, as responsible for the updates in that area.

The list of delegates also includes names like Peter Wuille, who shares his contributions to the Bitcoin code with other projects, and Wladimir J. van der Laan himself, who, as we’ve discussed, took a while. It’s clear that Marco Falk (Markovalk), Samuel Dobson (Mish Collider), and Michael Ford (Vanquik) continue to serve as full-time attendants.

Jonas Schnelli recently resigned from his position as the Bitcoin User Interface (GUI) supervisor.

Why are Bitcoin Core developers leaving?

As Bitcoin grows, it appears that prominent participants in its community are increasingly being exposed. Such as As reported by CriptoNoticiasJonas Schinelli claimed as one of the reasons for his resignation as Administrator of Bitcoin, which is Legal risks to project developers. Although the developer was not specific on the matter, it has been speculated on social media that Schinelli will be one of 16 developers subject to legal action launched by Craig Wright in May this year.

Wright, who calls himself the creator of Bitcoin, has authorized a lawsuit claiming that a group of developers of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV, Return of $4 billion in BTCIt was allegedly stolen from one of his personal wallets.

Coincidentally, Wladimir J. van der Laan announced the removal of his Bitcoin Core work, amid uproar over the removal of the Bitcoin white paper from the project’s Github repository, in early 2021. In this case, the decision to remove the document was also due to pressure from Craig Wright. , which was favored in a British court in its claim to copyright the White Book.

Van der Laan and Chenelli agreed that their work had become “tired”. The latter suggested that the work of the Bitcoin developers be anonymous.

It is worth noting that there are currently more than 350 developers actively and frequently collaborating on the project in Bitcoin Core.

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