As business travel remains on hold in many parts of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re temporarily pausing our membership model. We’ll continue to provide high-quality online technical material for engineers working on Bitcoin.
We launched Bitcoin Optech in July 2018 with a very clear mission: to help Bitcoin companies adopt scaling technologies and to raise the level of conversation around scaling Bitcoin. The Bitcoin community had been through the bitter and contentious ‘fork wars’, and our ethos was (and remains) to focus on the technology and provide sound technical guidance for anyone wishing to use the Bitcoin block chain in a more efficient way.
Our work is made possible by very generous founding donations from John Pfeffer, Wences Casares and Chaincode Labs, with ongoing funding from our members. We’ve undertaken projects in two broad areas:
High-quality online documentation and material for Bitcoin engineers, freely available to everyone and released under permissive open source licenses. Those materials include our weekly newsletter, blog posts and field reports, dashboard, compatibility matrix, topic index and taproot workbooks.
In-person workshops and informal dinners and social events, open to engineers at our member companies and others.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started making travel and in-person meetings more difficult in early 2020, we were forced to cancel plans for future events. The first cancellation was a planned workshop in Tokyo in May. We were bitterly disappointed not to be able to connect with the Japanese Bitcoin community and with Haegwan Kim, who’d freely given his time to make the initial preparations for the event.
Once it became clear that in-person events wouldn’t be possible for the foreseeable future, we decided to stop asking our members for annual donations. The vast majority of our expenses in 2018 and 2019 had been for event hosting, and our overheads since March 2020 have been extremely modest – recurring online bills for our online services like AWS and G-Suite, and minimal contractor pay for some of our operations.
Today, we have a lot of reasons to be optimistic. However, we expect travel restrictions in different parts of the world to continue for much of this year, and business travel for in-person events and workshops to take some time to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Consequently, we’ve decided to temporarily pause our membership program. As a mark of appreciation for our existing members’ financial support, we’ll display them on our website as supporters. Any new supporting companies will also be displayed as supporters.
We really enjoyed hosting in-person events and meeting smart and passionate Bitcoin engineers around the world, and we’re hopeful that at some point in the future we’ll be able to get back to running workshops and social events.