A month ago, Bitcoin early adopter Olivier Janssens posted a US$100 thousand bounty, valued in Bitcoin, for anyone who could come up with a software platform to replace the Bitcoin Foundation.

“We as an internet community, don’t need public figures to decide what’s good for us,” Janssens wrote last month. “We need to stop politicking and start focussing on the projects directly. For example, we need a project to fund the core development of bitcoin, and put our money straight to that. We need a project to have lobbyists in Washington, to fight the anti-bitcoin lobbyists from Mastercard, and to prevent the government from destroying the currency. Basically, we don’t need another intermediary. We can do this ourselves.”

On Wednesday, Mike Hearn was named the winner for his Lighthouse idea, a crowdfunding platform that runs completely on the blockchain. Hearn wrote on the Vinumeris blog:

“Lighthouse combines two functions in one. Firstly, it gives a lightweight encryptable HD wallet. It uses simplified payment verification, so even though it synchronises directly with the block chain performance is as good as a web wallet — in fact, it uses the same code that powers the most popular Android smartphone wallet.

“Secondly, it provides a way to create projects, pledge money to projects using coins that were sent to the app, and revoke pledges you made if you want your money back before the contract reaches its goal amount.”

According to Janssen’s description, Lighthouse will:

  • allow Bitcoin core developments to be funded directly,
  • allow lobbyists to make proposals on behalf of the community, whose members fund the lobbyists’ efforts, and
  • allow further community efforts.

Hearn has said that he will make the platform open source and available for outside development by the end of August.

Dividing up the bounty

The bounty will be split three ways:

  • US$40,000 will go to Hearn himself
  • US$50,000 is reserved for the first Bitcoin core development project which will get listed on the platform to motivate core devs to start using it
  • US$10,000 will go to the runner-up, Eris by Project Douglas, a DAO system that runs on Ethereum

Why an alternative to the Bitcoin Foundation?

Janssens argued in his original post last month that the foundation’s efforts were no longer transparent.

“The Bitcoin foundation has had its role in the last two years. Unfortunately, it is internally recreating the same archaic political system that fails to work for society. Bitcoin is the currency of the internet generation. It puts the power back into the hands of the people. You cannot expect its main representative organisation to be exactly the opposite: A non-transparent, political and secretive elite.

“We have been trying to push the BF for transparency and clear communication for years, without result. Meanwhile they started creating even more political structures inside, such as committees, which can only be accessed by knowing the right people.”