Monday, Bitcoin privacy wallet Wasabi Wallet and Canadian exchange Bull Bitcoin announced they’re donating 0.86 BTC (about USD $41,370) to the development of Bitcoin Knots, a bitcoin full node and wallet software developed by Luke Dashjr.

In a blog announcing the donation, Wasabi Wallet said the donation, split equally between the two companies, was needed given the lack of financial support and incentive for developing and pursuing open-source tech. 

The goal is to generally support the development of Bitcoin Knots and does not have any specific stipulations, according to J. Daniel Beluska of ZkSNACKS, the private company that supports the development of the open-source Wasabi Wallet. 

What is Bitcoin Knots?

Bitcoin Knots is another software implementation of Bitcoin. While Bitcoin Core is the primary implementation and what the majority of nodes run, Knots is one of a few alternative implementations. About 426 or so nodes run these alternative implementations.

“Bitcoin Knots is a Bitcoin node and wallet software project which is used as an alternative to the more popular Bitcoin Core software,” said Bull Bitcoin CEO Francis Pouliot in a message. “There are additional features in Bitcoin Knots that are not included in Bitcoin Core, some of which make transaction verification processes easier and more efficient in some contexts.”

“For the average user, this means that the Bitcoin network is more diverse and robust given there isn’t a single point of failure,” said Beluska in an email, referring to Bitcoin Core as one such single point. Instead, there are “multiple client implementations maintained by different developers.”

If the companies that profit from Bitcoin open-source development don’t provide the necessary funding, who will?

Bull Bitcoin is a Canadian bitcoin exchange designed to let users retain full control of their private keys when they buy, sell or spend bitcoin on the platform using their own bitcoin wallet. 

Pouliot said all Bitcoin transactions received by either Bull Bitcoin or Bylls are verified using Bitcoin Knots (indirectly via Wasabi Wallet) in addition to the verifications independently performed by Cyphernode’s Bitcoin Core integration.

Bitcoin Knots is used as a dependency by other Bitcoin wallets, such as Wasabi Wallet, that wish to benefit from these features. 

“This is important because Wasabi Wallet is the overall best and most effective tool for users to protect their privacy while using the Bitcoin network,” Pouliot said. 

Supporting open-source development

“Cypherpunks write code, but cypherpunks don’t always get paid. We can’t expect the world’s most talented experts to contribute indefinitely without financial compensation,” said Pouliot of the joint donation. “If the companies that profit from Bitcoin open-source development don’t provide the necessary funding, who will?”

The move follows other donations made by zkSNACKS, which donated 1 bitcoin to the Human Rights Foundation’s Bitcoin Development Fund.

“We hope that this will help Luke Dashjr work on the Bitcoin Knots software project, but we trust his judgment to allocate his time to whatever project he sees fit,” said Pouliot.  “This grant is not only meant to help Luke Dashjr continue his contributions to Bitcoin Knots, but also in recognition of his past contributions to Bitcoin more broadly.”

In the debate around Taproot activation BIP8 LOT=True or LOT=False, Dashjr advocates for upgrades should be the domain of node operators, not miners. LOT=True would ensure that node users signal for taproot supported blocks only and therefore rejecting blocks from miners who haven’t adopted taproot. Because of this, zkSNACKS makes clear in its blog post that its donation is unrelated to Taproot activation via BIP8 LOT=True.