Meet the Man who has silently rewritten Bitcoin
It was not long ago when all of us, who were trying to work with Bitcoin in our “native” programming language were completely paralized by the amount of low level work that needed to be done before we could progress further with our ideas.
In fact the last time I found myself in this situation was in 2014, even though my “native” programming language, C# is one of the most popular in the world. Every time I tried to do any coding, I encountered countless walls and countless missing pieces. It was not the case with other languages with similar and lower popularities. I was very frustrated, because other people can play with Bitcoin, why cannot I?
A few years later, in the start of 2016 I pleasantly noticed someone has already done the work I talked about. A developer, who ironically got familiar with Bitcoin through the 2014 MtGox collapse felt the need to learn about it. Once he said the following.
Let me warn you: learning about Bitcoin is like taking the red pill from The Matrix. You may find yourself ready to quit your job to work on it full time.
You don’t need to be Einstein to realize he was talking about himself. And indeed, what he did is took Bitcoin and rewritten 90% of it in his own language, C#. In his free time.
He is a French developer, living in Japan. His name is Nicolas Dorier and his main work is NBitcoin.
NBitcoin is also a Bitcoin library and includes various complementary tools, like SPV, colored coins, HTTP API and a full-node implementation is also in its final stages. Thus he will soon be able to say he implemented 100% of the Bitcoin protocol, I am not sure any other implementation can say the same.
Back to my story: My excitement and Bitcoin addiction did not let me stop at being happy about the newly emerged language tools. I contacted Nicolas, and within a month I found myself on a plane, flying to Tokyo to help him until my savings ran out and I had to find a job. This resulted in the second edition of the C# Bitcoin book. While the first one was completely written by Nicolas, in a Word document, this second edition has been ported to GitHub triggering greater activity in the community. For example, a couple of months ago an unknown person translated the whole book (100+ pages) to Indonesian, made a pull request and disappeared.
It is instructive how the initiative of one person triggerd the Bitcoin activity of thousands of developers. Or maybe even more, even our combined CodeProject articles have hundreds of thousands of views.
Moral of the story. Historically we tend to focus on those who are working on Bitcoin core, or one of its forks and dismiss those who are working on partial Bitcoin implementations in different languages, while just as much action is happening there. Let’s not forget they are also working for free and the impact of their works, as illustrated here are significant.
(As an easter egg I wanted to insert a video of Nicolas singing the opening of One Piece in a Japanese KTV, but I lost my phone, with the media on it.)
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