In brief

  • BitMEX has published a research report detailing which organizations fund the development of Bitcoin.
  • Blockstream and Lightning Labs are leading by the number of employed developers.
  • Chaincode Labs is the largest financial supporter of Bitcoin Core.

Bitcoin futures exchange BitMEX published a research report on March 28 detailing what organizations are currently funding and supporting the development of the Bitcoin network the most.

The research is based on publicly available information and from “speaking to certain individuals, who were happy with their details being made public,” BitMEX noted.

According to the data, nine companies have three or more developers contributing to the Bitcoin network. Blockstream and Lightning Labs employ the largest number of developers working on open-source Bitcoin or Lightning Network-related projects.

The 9 biggest companies fuelling Bitcoin’s growth
These companies have the most developers working on Bitcoin. Image: BitMEX Research

Blockstream employs two dedicated Bitcoin developers, three Lightning developers and three cryptographers. In its turn, Lightning Labs has at least eight developers working on the open-source Lightning software—Bitcoin’s second-layer scaling solution.

BitMEX noted that the number of employed developers is “not a perfect indicator of the overall contribution of the funder,” because some developers may be employed as part of full-time staff while others may have just received some small grants for part-time work.

The Bitcoin exchange then attempted to establish where Bitcoin developers secure funding to work on the network. BitMEX identified the top 33 contributors by the all-time number of code commits and tried to trace financing sources to each developer.

The 9 biggest companies fuelling Bitcoin’s growth
This is where Bitcoin developers get their funding from. Image: BitMEX Research

It showed that independent funding is by far the most common source of developer funding. Among established organizations, New York-based Chaincode Labs, financed by its founders Alex Morcos and Suhas Daftuar, proved to be the biggest financial supporter of Bitcoin’s development.

Top organizations also include Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s Square Crypto and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Digital Currency Initiative, DG Lab, which was established by blockchain financial services company Digital Garage.


As Decrypt reported previously, Square Crypto is continuing to expand its presence in the crypto community. On March 5, the firm handed out grants to two Bitcoin developers: Jon Atack and Tankred Hase. The money will allow them to work full-time on open-source projects that benefit the Bitcoin network.

BitMEX stated that funding for Bitcoin development is in a good place. “We conclude that the situation is more healthy than it has been in the past, with respect to the availability of finance, transparency, and the degree of distribution among financial backers,” the report said.

Although that’s more than can be said for those on BitMEX.

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