In the early days of Bitcoin, random developers worked on the code base after Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor introduced it to the core group in the community. Since then, the network has gone through series of development before it got to its present state.
With work still ongoing on the Bitcoin and its sidechain such as the Lightning Network (LN) there are questions about who is funding the project. This is especially so with the need to ensure decentralization, the core value that gives the distributed ledger technology aka blockchain its desirability.
A recent paper by BitMEX Research after identifying the financiers of the LN concluded that the project contributors and financiers are decentralized enough, adding that this is a healthy situation for the Bitcoin network.
The paper stated that the largest organizations funding the project are Blockstream, Lightning Labs, Square crypto and MIT DCI. Others are Chaincode, Purse, DG Labs, Acinq, Xapo and Hardcore Funds, BitMEX, OkCoin and BTSE among some private investors are also active financiers of the Lightning Network.
Who funds Bitcoin development?— BitMEX Research (@BitMEXResearch) March 28, 2020
We analyse the main organisations funding open source Bitcoin and Lightning development. The situation is more healthy than it has been in the past, with a higher degree of distribution among financial backershttps://t.co/yaPzuzAjAj pic.twitter.com/NBRvodyM6K
These organizations are funding the work of developers who are adding commits to the open source code through GitHub.
A chart shows that some of these entities are commercial concerns while others are non profit. Their geographical locations show that they are mainly based in Europe, Asia and North America (USA and Canada).
OkCoin for instance is based in China while Blockstream operates from Victoria, Canada. Blockstream is a Seychelles-based company while Lightning Labs operates out of San Francisco just like Purse and Xapo. Others are DG Labs (Tokyo), MIT DCI (Boston), Blockchain.info (London), BTCC (China), etc.
These companies are funding dozens of contributors working on the LN with many retained at full-time basis. The research noted that funding is more distributed than in the past, adding that this is good for Bitcoin and the crypto ecosystem.