In a departure from the typical scene of enthusiasts gaining nothing but recognition from their Bitcoin coding, Jimmy Song is seeking to formalize future development along new lines.
Coding a Revenue Stream for Developers
Now a partner at Blockchain Capital, Song is best known for aiding digital currency overall by adopting his usual engaging and eloquent stance and making Bitcoin and others both understandable and attractive to the layman. Many of his talks can be found through the crypto podcast world and specifically at Off Chain with Jimmy Song on the World Crypto Network.
Song also offers Programming Blockchain seminars which are aimed at giving Python developers the needed skills to code for Bitcoin apps.
Unofficially known as Platypus Labs, Song’s new offer seeks to bring blockchain and cryptocurrency development into a far more productive space. Still, in development, he is designing the laboratory to both train and reward those who’d enjoy scaling Bitcoin to new heights.
The primary focus of Song’s initiative is to cultivate incentive around Bitcoin coding and propel the currency rapidly through current teething and scalability issues.
This is a big part of what Song is hoping for when he says that he wants “to reward developers, because they’re obviously adding tremendous value to the ecosystem, and we want to see them get compensated for it, if that’s what they want to do.”
Now a Blockchain Capital partner, Song is utilizing his position to do what he thinks is logical and long-outstanding: paying coders for taking an active, professional interest in the first place. Although US job postings for blockchain workers have increased by some 207 percent over a single year according to the job portal Indeed.com, it’s still a new and variable employment space.
Apart from the massive bank of volunteers that have dominated the cryptocurrency rollout space, skills also vary wildly, and in such a novel and cutting-edge arena, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly who might have superior skills as an employee. Salaries on offer, when they appear, vary too and determining job outcomes can also be a mystical task.
Bitcoin Bursaries Enabled
Song is mooting a system of “resident” developers alongside fellowships and other sponsorships to enable learners to swell the ranks. He is approaching all 62 of BC’s backers to build up a data sheet on which coding libraries they are currently employing.
Song’s current investigations are also determining which new tools companies are hollering for and how Platypus Labs might play a pivotal role in their quests. Armed with the intel he is amassing, Song will then be able to fine-tune Platypus’ focus and also the intake, once up and running.
He is wisely trading on both the need to formalize qualifications around the new technology as well as chatting to those already invested who have the most to gain from development. Song has confirmed that a number of backers have expressed definite interest so far.
Blockchain is moving from a phenomenon to a formal industry, and the Platypus Labs venture promises stability and professional qualification in what is still a novel arena. As such, Song is looking at launching the venture by May 2018.
While the initial focus will be on Bitcoin Core, if the Labs successfully roll out coders with relevant application, nothing is stopping it from becoming the primary blockchain development platform. At current, the first base will be in San Francisco, but a worldwide reach is entirely possible if the initial results prove to be a reliable model.
Bart Stephens, Blockchain Capital’s co-founder was enthusiastic about the new project, saying:
“Without exception, all of the 62 companies in the Blockchain Capital portfolio need engineering talent. We couldn’t be more pleased to have [Song] join the team and allow us to support and contribute to the ecosystem in this way.”
Willing Trainee, Willing Employer
Developer interest in Song’s new offer is something he openly ponders, as his statement qualifies with the words “… if that’s what they want to do.”
Song is a tribesman, a member, and knows the developer community that has emerged around cryptocurrencies all too well. Saying that “Certain developers, you’re never going to get them to do that, they’re doing it for other reasons than money,” in referring to funded training and development, Song is nonetheless ready for the challenge.
He is not fixed in his offer, and it doesn’t need to be a strict sponsored training regime with the outcome being employment at a technological company. Song continued, saying: “[Certainly], if that is a concern, and if that’s something that certain developers are interested in, we want to support that.”
The Early Days of Communal Camaraderie
When Bitcoin first appeared, interested developers who assisted its establishment were strictly volunteers. Beyond altruism and the desire to decentralize currency, many also had a vested interest. For those who had made a significant investment in Bitcoin, developing the system was a means of protecting their holdings.
This style of work changed somewhat as academic players like MIT and startups like Chain Code, Blockstream and BitPay started hiring coders to keep apace with blockchain technology advancement.
Song mixes his philanthropic bent with market imperatives in enabling a new breed of developer to emerge. Fully aware of some brilliant contributions made under difficult circumstances, he is seeking to enable those coders to access resources that will allow even more significant leaps forward on the chain.
Also pointing to aging Bitcoin open-source libraries, he noted that “A lot of open-source libraries in Bitcoin have fallen into disrepair.” Taking a big picture view, Song said that:
“We’d like to make sure those are shored up for the sake of our portfolio companies at the very least, but also for the sake of the ecosystem.”
Speaking as a BC partner of the kind of company he imagines the outfit investing in going forward, Song said that he’d like to “[See] companies that are innovating and not rent-seeking.”