Open Source Code Bitcoin

Want to learn about bitcoin and its source code? I know that there is a lot of stuff on the internet to take in but it can be pretty overwhelming. There are quite complicated explanations out there that are difficult to understand. I am here to help you get started with open source code bitcoin

Bitcoin is a decentralized network that relies on open source code. But what you may not know is that the bitcoin source code language can be applied to many other things in your life!

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, which is a currency secured by software encryption. Unlike currencies issued and backed by sovereign states—like the US dollar, British pound, or Indian rupee, Bitcoins are not issued or managed by any central bank. They are managed, but only in the most basic way. Any currency has value only because of what economists call scarcity. For a currency, this scarcity must be artificially imposed. After all, if everyone could print up money, money would quickly lose its value.

In fact, Bitcoin is unusual among cryptocurrencies in its approach to scarcity in that it has a fixed supply. When Bitcoin was created, an arbitrary limit was placed on the number of Bitcoins that could exist. As the demand for Bitcoin increased, the value increased, until eventually its price began to soar and has become quite volatile. Other cryptocurrencies do not necessarily follow the same rules and create scarcity by, for example, linking the currency to real-world items of value—similar to loyalty program points or scrip.

Bitcoin is implemented via blockchain technology.

If you own Bitcoins, they are stored in a wallet to which only you have access. Bitcoin wallets work somewhat like your email. After setting up an email address, you need software, usually called an email client, that enables you to send or receive emails. You can either download that software to a device or access an email client over the internet. To access your email, you employ a user name (an email ID) and a password. Similarly, Bitcoin wallets enable you to send or receive Bitcoins.

To access your wallet, you need two cryptographic keys: a public key and a private key. Public keys are known to everyone over the distributed network (like your email ID), but your private key is known only to you (like a password). When you access your Bitcoin wallet with your private key, you can transfer Bitcoins with anyone over the distributed network. No one can access your Bitcoin wallet without your private key. Consequently, every transaction you make will be recorded digitally in your Bitcoin wallet.

A Bitcoin wallet is one kind of digital wallet. There are other types of digital wallets, such as desktop wallets, cloud wallets, and mobile wallets. Various digital wallets work with Bitcoin, such as Breadwallet, Jaxx, Mycelium, Ledger Blue, and Ledger Nano.

Example of blockchain transactions between four parties

In the image above, users A, B, C, and D enter into various transactions. However, D has attempted to transfer more than D has in its wallet. The transfers among A, B, and C are validated, but the transfer from D to A is not. The transactions are validated by users at large in a process called mining. The miners receive a small amount in exchange for the mining, which requires them to verify the chain. Like most money transfers today, the wallets store the result of ledger transactions, and no physical transfer takes place. When D tries to make a transfer in this example, it is as if D had insufficient funds in its bank account, so the transaction does not work. The main difference is that the miners, and not the bank, verify the transaction.

But Bitcoin is only one cryptocurrency, and cryptocurrency is only one application of a blockchain.

License

Bitcoin Core is released under the terms of the MIT license. See COPYING for more information or see https://opensource.org/licenses/MIT.

Development Process

The master branch is regularly built (see doc/build-*.md for instructions) and tested, but it is not guaranteed to be completely stable. Tags are created regularly from release branches to indicate new official, stable release versions of Bitcoin Core.

The https://github.com/bitcoin-core/gui repository is used exclusively for the development of the GUI. Its master branch is identical in all monotree repositories. Release branches and tags do not exist, so please do not fork that repository unless it is for development reasons.

The contribution workflow is described in CONTRIBUTING.md and useful hints for developers can be found in doc/developer-notes.md.

Testing

Testing and code review is the bottleneck for development; we get more pull requests than we can review and test on short notice. Please be patient and help out by testing other people’s pull requests, and remember this is a security-critical project where any mistake might cost people lots of money.

Automated Testing

Developers are strongly encouraged to write unit tests for new code, and to submit new unit tests for old code. Unit tests can be compiled and run (assuming they weren’t disabled in configure) with: make check. Further details on running and extending unit tests can be found in /src/test/README.md.

There are also regression and integration tests, written in Python. These tests can be run (if the test dependencies are installed) with: test/functional/test_runner.py

The CI (Continuous Integration) systems make sure that every pull request is built for Windows, Linux, and macOS, and that unit/sanity tests are run automatically.

Manual Quality Assurance (QA) Testing

Changes should be tested by somebody other than the developer who wrote the code. This is especially important for large or high-risk changes. It is useful to add a test plan to the pull request description if testing the changes is not straightforward.

Translations

Changes to translations as well as new translations can be submitted to Bitcoin Core’s Transifex page.

Translations are periodically pulled from Transifex and merged into the git repository. See the translation process for details on how this works.

Important: We do not accept translation changes as GitHub pull requests because the next pull from Transifex would automatically overwrite them again.

What is “open source” and why is it important?

by Peter Van ValkenburghOctober 17, 2017

The computer code undergirding each major cryptocurrency and open blockchain project is developed as open source software. Regulators and policymakers looking into cryptocurrencies but unfamiliar with open source software may have an incorrect mental model: one wherein software-based systems are (and must be) developed by one or a handful of for-profit companies. While plenty of important software projects are developed in this way (e.g. Microsoft’s Windows or Oracle’s RDBMS), open source projects are different and that difference can and should help shape public policy.

Open source software is collaboratively produced, shared freely, published transparently, and developed to be a community good rather than the property or business of a single company or person. When a project is developed open source there isn’t a single chokepoint in the development process, no company or individual that makes, owns, and sells the software. Just as there is no single company that powers the Bitcoin network, neither is there one company that makes the software that, when run on internet connected computers, creates that network. This decentralization in technology production has several profound benefits and can be difficult to grasp for those not familiar with software development.

To better understand the power and nature of open source, it is helpful to first understand a bit about one particularly successful piece of open source software: Linux, the open source operating system.

Open Source is Everywhere

You use Linux more times during the day than can easily be counted. Linux is the operating system that undergirds the substantial majority of servers on the internet. Whenever you visit Facebook, Google, Pinterest, Wikipedia or thousands of other major websites, the services the site provides for you (whether it’s social networking, search results, photographs, or encyclopedic articles) are coming from a computer, and that computer is probably running an operating system called Linux. Linux isn’t only at the other end of your web surfing either; it’s probably at your fingertips. If you use an Android phone, the phone’s operating system is based on Linux. If you use a Chromebook, you are using a Linux-powered laptop. Moreover, Linux is increasingly the operating system that’s baked into televisions, thermostats, airline entertainment systems, cars, and more.

Why is this interesting? It’s interesting because Linux is not the product of one or even a handful of programmers, and (unlike Apple’s MacOS or Microsoft’s Windows) it’s not been developed by one or even a handful of corporations. Instead, Linux has thousands of individual co-authors. As the Linux Foundation (a nonprofit association dedicated to promoting the open development of the operating system) reported in 2015, “some 14,000 individual developers from over 1,300 different companies have contributed to the kernel.” In that year alone, 2,355 developers made their first ever contributions to the Linux source code. So, by extrapolation, we can guess that by this year (2017) around 18,000 people have contributed to the code, and counting!

As Eric Raymond, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar wrote in 1996, “Who would have thought even five years ago (1991) that a world-class operating system could coalesce as if by magic out of part-time hacking by several thousand developers scattered all over the planet, connected only by the tenuous strands of the Internet?”

Open Source Advantages

Raymond’s book describes how open source represents a revolutionary mode of technology production. Linux, with thousands of unaffiliated developers working in public collaboration, exemplifies the open source model. Cryptocurrencies follow this model as well, but more on that in a moment.

Raymond identified several advantages to the open source model. Key for our purposes are the following:

  • “Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer’s personal itch.” The majority of developers in an open source project are motivated primarily because they want to use the product they are making. They aren’t under contract to build something for someone else; they have a personal need and they are addressing it. This leads to greater motivation and it brings intimate personal knowledge about the problem to bear.
  • “Good programmers know what to write. Great ones know what to rewrite (and reuse).” When development happens in the open, redundancy can be avoided, and troublesome, complicated, or redundant code can be identified and simplified.
  • “When you lose interest in a program, your last duty to it is to hand it off to a competent successor.” People come and go within an open source project depending on their interests and expertise. No one gets stuck working on projects they no longer care about and fresh minds appear to offer different perspectives on longstanding problems or new avenues for development.
  • “Treating your users as co-developers is your least-hassle route to rapid code improvement and effective debugging.” Many of the people who use the open source code will also be able to identify and flag issues, and may even be able to offer solutions. The line between a consumer and a producer of open source software blurs because production happens transparently in full view of the public and participation in production is available to all.
  • “Given a large enough beta-tester and co-developer base, almost every problem will be characterized quickly and the fix obvious to someone.” This has come to be known as Linus’s Law after Linus Torvalds, the original creator and longtime principal developer of Linux. When development is not open, all developers may share a certain blind spot or fail to notice a certain error. Wider development amongst sophisticated users with idiosyncratic perspectives increases the likelihood that bugs are discovered and addressed, thus making open source software more resilient and secure.

The result of open source software development is highly resilient code made by its users to serve its users. The goal isn’t to produce something that enriches a company that makes and sells the product, but—rather—to produce something that solves a problem common enough that a large community of talented programmers is happy to dedicate their efforts to the task. The non-programming public benefits immensely from this model. Free software effectively materializes out of thin air, anyone is free to use it, and it remains updated as long as an expert class of users (even including corporations) remains interested in using the software as well.

Conclusion

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system; it is the first decentralized digital currency, as the system works without a central repository or single administrator.

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