Being a Bitcoiner — Summer of Bitcoin!
Before the Summer of Bitcoin, I used to invest in cryptocurrencies and read regarding the different protocols they use, but it was just an overview knowledge. I knew about the various mechanisms such as Proof of Work, proof of stake and proof of History. Knowing about the projects getting built on cryptocurrencies and being aware of the latest news regarding it was something I invested my time in.
None of my friends or relatives even heard regarding them, but I used to go through online resources as I believed that these technologies are the future and I need to know regarding them.
Talking about the developer side of mine, I was very active in multiple open source communities, I had contributed to multiple projects over various technologies. Open source has taught me collaboration with others and the skill of learning from the community and that improved me. Thus I loved working and networking with new people and engaging with them for building projects!
I heard regarding Summer of Bitcoin from a youtube video, when I went through its website, I was surprised as it was a perfect event to combine two of my interests Cryptocurrencies and Open Source!! I applied readily as I was excited to get the opportunity and enjoyed how smooth the interview process was, thanks to the organizers!
After going through the first week with Kalle Rosenbaum (the author of Grokking Bitcoin) and all the introductory study material which I was provided with, it opened a new perspective for me to look at decentralized systems.
From a broader picture perspective, the complete Bitcoin Network is running on a trustless network, where you don’t trust anyone other than yourself. Whether you are a node or a miner you always verify the details. You get freedom from the traditional centralized system. All the centralized systems such as banking or any social media have worked to earn the people’s trust for so long. But now as a society, we are moving towards somewhere where there is no need to trust in a giant authority with your data and money.
From a philosophical point, human society has always been functioning because of trust, but now we are getting away from that. It’s a revolution and it’s exciting to be a part of it!
My peers who were part of the program with me were amazing, learning with them and solving each other’s doubts in the breakout rooms is something I enjoyed a lot. The efforts put in by the mentors and the organizers provided a healthy and fun environment to learn in a better way, I appreciate the efforts as it was something that astonished me and helped to pick up the new concepts comfortably.
The 2-day workshop hosted by Thunderbiscuit was too informative where we got a hands-on experience of building a Bitcoin Wallet with multiple functionalities of sending and receiving money as well as recovering a wallet from the recovery phrase. The wallet was built over the library of Bitcoin Development Kit.
The way that Java/Kotlin wrapper works around the library is so beautiful and powerful.
Here is the link to the codebase.
Looking back at myself a few months back I never thought I would get to work with the codebase of the Bitcoin repository, I knew it was open-sourced but getting started to working with such a big codebase was something scary. Now, after working on it for the complete summer I would say that SoB provided me with the best way to get started working and helped me conquer my fear. I have picked up the skills of testing and reviewing other codes, thinking of ways to approach the issues in the most efficient ways and learning more stuff while solving the issues.
Testing and reviewing is something which according to me has a lot fewer people than expected as this is a trillion-dollar industry and with this amount of money even small mistakes would be devastating from an economical point of view as well as the faith in the cryptocurrency.
I was assigned the project of Bitcoin core under the mentor James O’Beirne. I read regarding his previous works and the seminars he has delivered in the past. He has a great way of explaining things from the ground level. Interacting with him one on one was an awesome experience as well. He encouraged me to think in the right perspective regarding how to develop and work on the ongoing projects in Bitcoin core. Learning small concepts by steps and trying to play a little with the code could be considered the baby steps. Later I moved on to contributing towards different issues. Met and interacted with a lot of contributors who have been active in the community for a while. Reading their discussions regarding the PRs and issues takes much more digging of resources and those things helped me explore and know more about how certain concepts work in the code.
I explored Torr and how one can run the Bitcoin core on the onion service, later on, I wrote a guide regarding the same as the topic had fewer resources. So yeah, starting from being a novice I have grown now thanks to SoB.
On the last day, we had a Farewell session, where all of us Bitcoiners met up and had awesome discussions regarding how the plans from here look like.
Now that I invested a summer into learning Bitcoin, I now have a new world to explore, I consider that my journey has just started and SoB has laid a strong foundation step for it. I am willing to continue contributing to the Bitcoin repository. And I am also willing to be a part of the Summer of Bitcoin next year as well, and I want to give back to the community.
Thank you to all the mentors and organizers who provided such an amazing event! :)