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We caught up with Devcoin founder UnthinkingBit to learn the philosophy behind the Devcoin project, its mission to fund open source work worldwide, and his vision for a future where Devcoin funds 3D printer development, space travel and a cryptocommunity hackerspace.

Why did you start the Devcoin project?

To give lots of money to open source developers. I funded the development of Mainframe Mining Cooperative charity mining pool, which at it’s peak it gave a bit less than 10 bitcoins/month to developers, but after a few months it was shut down because of a ddos attack threat. After that I founded Devcoin which is currently giving out more than 40 bitcoins/month worth of Devcoins, and it’s been going strong for over two years.

Wow. 40 BTC is a lot more than 10 BTC to give to open source developers each month, so I suppose things worked out well in the end. Could you go into a little more detail about why you think open source work is so important, that you eventually founded Devcoin?

Open source software helps everyone who uses the internet, a smartphone, a computer, everyone in the world directly or indirectly. Open source hardware is starting to take off, there are now open source boards like the Arduino and Raspberry Pi, open source 3D printers, and open source cars. Open source saves consumers billions of dollars today, and many new companies needed open source to succeed.

However, for all the money that open source saved people, the developers got almost none of it. Companies will often say how thankful they are for open source, and then give little or nothing to the developers who made it possible. That’s why Devcoin was founded, to give money to open source developers, because no else is giving much.

Devcoin’s receiver files are a primary innovation which has still not been utilized in any other cryptocurrency. How did you and the other Devcoin developers come up with the idea of receiver files to distribute Devcoins fairly among open source developers?

We needed a way to send the generation coins to a list of developers, and that list could change any round as more developers joined and as some developers quit. The list had to be easily viewable by everyone, so that meant that it had to be in text on web sites. Also, it was vital that all the clients could read the list at all times, so the list is mirrored on many web sites so that it can be read even if some of the web sites are down.

The address of the first round mirrors are hard coded into Devcoin. After that, Devcoin uses the addresses in the first round list to get the next round mirrors. Devcoin only uses the text that the majority of the web sites display, so that it’ll work even if some are down.

It took Mark and I about two months to get that going, and we were really happy when it finally did. That’s the core of Devcoin, and beside a few minor changes like the initial list of mirrors and the hypertext download code, it hasn’t changed since.

How can anyone reading this, who is an open source developer in any field such as research, writing, software development, hardware development and design, apply for Devcoin funding?

An active developer should start with by reading:
http://www.devtome.com/doku.php?id=earn_devcoins_by_developing

To make more money, they should look at the current bounties:
http://www.devtome.com/doku.php?id=devcoin_bounty_now

and list their name on the programmer thread at:
http://coinzen.org/index.php/topic,329.0.html

There are only a few programming bounties now because we were spending a lot of time on Devtome and Coinzen. Those sites are finally running well, so we’re going to make more bounties.

Is is true that when the market cap of Devcoin reaches a certain point, there will be a bounty offered for the development of an open source single seater spacecraft?

Yes, if the market capitalization reaches 10 billion dollars, we’ll make a bounty for a reusable open source single seat spacecraft: http://www.devtome.com/doku.php?id=devcoin_bounty#capitalization_10_000_000_000_usd

This is way more than our current capitalization, in the meantime there will be bounties for 3D printing.

Devcoin is known as one of the oldest cryptocurrencies besides Bitcoin itself. When was the project started, and where do you hope Devcoin’s contribution to the open source world will be in say five years?

The project was started around July 2, 2011. The first block was on July 22 / 2011:
http://darkgamex.ch:2751/block/0000000062558fec003bcbf29e915cddfc34fa257dc87573f28e4520d1c7c11e

In 5 years, I hope Devtome becomes one the biggest wikis ever, and that we have a cryptocoin village with a giant hackerspace. If we’re really successful, we’ll make a seed factory:
http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Seed_Factories and be able to build almost anything.

Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself, or the mission of Devcoin before we wind this up?

The Devcoin mission is to make money and/or stuff for open source developers. After three years, unfortunately we haven’t made much money, advertising pays little and businesses are hard to start in a zombie economy. So more emphasis will be put on making stuff, like 3D printers, and a cryptocommunity with a hackerspace, so that people can make most of their own stuff, even if they can’t make much money.

To learn more please go to: http://devcoin.org

To visit the custom coded Devcoin forum please go to: http://coinzen.com

Devcoin Exchanges:

http://cryptsy.com DVC/LTC DVC/BTC
http://vircurex.com DVC/BTC

Devcoin Merchants and Services: http://www.devtome.com/doku.php?id=where_to_spend_your_devcoins

Devcoin Payment Processor For Merchant Checkouts And Invoicing:
http://coinpayments.net

Current And Future Devcoin Bounties According to Market Capitalization:
http://devtome.com/doku.php?id=devcoin_bounty

Devcoin Accepted Here Button For Merchants Use:

Devcoin-Accepted-Here-e1369224842624

For the technically minded here are the Devcoin (DVC) protocol details:

  • Similar to Bitcoin, Devcoin uses the SHA-256 cryptographic algorithm and is merge mined with Bitcoin meaning the Devcoin network is very secure.
  • 10 minutes block target.
  • 50 000 DVC per block reward, to ensure there is no deflation this block reward never decreases. 5000 DVC goes to miners (who can merge mine DVC for free when they are mining Bitcoin), and 45 000 DVC goes to the open source developers and projects on the receiver files.

Devcoin Screenshot