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Human Rights Foundation Backs Bug Bounty With Bitcoin


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Make Bitcoin better for activists and claim part of a 20 Bitcoin reward—worth over half a million dollars—offered by the Human Rights Foundation (HRF).

The foundation officially launched a bug bounty challenge to support open-source development on the Bitcoin protocol, centered around ten improvements to the Bitcoin user experience (UX) and mainly aimed at mobile wallets.

“These bounties come from conversations with global activists,” Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer for HRF told Decrypt. “They are features that many would like to see come to Bitcoin.”

Each bounty is worth 2 BTC (nearly $60,000 according to CoinGecko), and is aimed at a specific problem that Bitcoin faces today, with six aimed at improving mobile wallets.

One bug bounty challenge looks at open-source design components for Bitcoin projects, which currently rely heavily on  proprietary design software called Figma. The goal is to provide developers free access to a Bitcoin User Interface (UI) guide.

Another challenge looks to help expand and bolster development of Nostr, an open source and censorship resistant social network backed by Jack Dorsey that has garnered substantial notoriety in the past few months–especially among the more technical crypto crowd.

The bounties aimed at Bitcoin wallets include the ability to generate and memorize seed phrases when crossing borders–a common practice the HRF wants to support around the world.

The 20 Bitcoin that are financially incentivizing these bounties come from the HRF’s Bitcoin Development Fund, a branch of the Foundation that looks to help expand financial freedom for dissidents and human rights activists everywhere.

“HRF views Bitcoin and financial freedom as one aspect of the human rights struggle,” Gladstein told Decrypt. “The fact is human rights defenders are persistently attacked through their bank accounts… Bitcoin allows them to keep going.”

At the time of writing, none of the ten bounties have been claimed, although they will run through this year and up to the end of 2024.

“The bounties are a bit of an experiment,” Gladstein concluded. “if they go well, maybe other organizations can do the same.”

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