Spiral is Hiring Bitcoin Wizards
Spiral is hiring bitcoin “wizards,” though we will settle for bitcoin mages, sorcerers and sorceresses, witches, warlocks, and druids.
Spiral is the first free and open-source, internal, non-profit bitcoin organization within a major tech company. We contribute to bitcoin by writing code, funding projects and individuals, educating, entertaining, and testing the limits of what a tiny team can do to impact the future of money. Although many see bitcoin only as digital gold, via the Lightning Network, Spiral envisions bitcoin fulfilling its promise and potential as the global standard for peer-to-peer payments.
To date, Spiral’s full-time engineering team has focused exclusively on developing LDK, a kit that simplifies how developers add the Lightning Network to apps and wallets. This year, we plan to build an R&D team within Spiral that will focus on improving bitcoin’s security, decentralization, privacy, scaling, and expressivity beyond LDK. The projects might include applying novel cryptography, developing existing protocol proposals, and creating new innovative protocol proposals. The possibilities aren’t endless, per se, but they are numerous.
- Identify and drive forward multiple projects in collaboration with the Spiral team and the greater bitcoin development community.
- Develop a project plan for each active project.
- For a given project, do whatever it takes to make progress toward the goal, including:
- Building prototypes
- Writing tests
- Developing production code
- Developing performance benchmarks
- Creating simulations
- Being thoughtful about how to gain consensus on changes
- Recruiting other FOSS devs to help
- Writing bitcoin-dev email posts
- Participating in podcasts and speaking at conferences
- Regularly review bitcoin-dev and lightning-dev email lists, relevant “wizards” channels, Bitcoin Optech, relevant research papers, and R&D from other cryptocurrency projects. When possible, engage and provide constructive feedback.
- Propose new protocol designs building on what others have done or wholly new ideas.
Applicants should have a deep technical understanding of bitcoin and be comfortable engaging on bitcoin topics and on bitcoin channels such as bitcoin-dev or lightning-dev email lists, local bitdevs, or in a “wizards” channel such as IRC #bitcoin-wizards.
Applicants should also know which projects they’d like to work on. At a minimum, they should be able to identify three projects worth your time, why they benefit bitcoin, and how your involvement would improve them.
Finally, strong people skills are a must. Many projects will require attaining developer consensus, including the bitcoin consensus protocol, bitcoin p2p policy, and the LN protocol. To successfully navigate this requires more than just coding talent. Applicants should be ego-free, willing to detach themselves from a particular proposal, and be prepared to conclude a proposal if something learned has made it untenable. Applicants should also seek collaborators and co-authors, be patient yet persistent, and incorporate peer feedback. We undeniably expect a lot from whoever fills these roles. But there’s no other job like them in bitcoin or elsewhere.
Here is a list of project examples Spiral would find valuable. Again, we expect candidates to drive the process of which projects they will work on, so this list is merely a tool to help a candidate calibrate the scope and depth of future projects.
- Scaling innovation
- New methods to share UTXOs among users as trustless and efficiently as possible
- Lightning efficiency innovation
- Cross-input signature aggregation
- Security innovation
- Mining pool decentralization
- Threshold signatures for LN
- Mempool/bitcoin p2p security for L2
- Evaluate security risks to bitcoin stemming from MEV, tokens, stablecoins, etc and provide recommendations
- Privacy innovation
- Applied ZKP for LN gossip to hide UTXO funding
- Bitcoin expressivity innovation
- Bitcoin script opcode innovation, tradeoff evaluation, and driving (CTV, CSFS, TLUV, OP_VAULT, etc.)
This full-time role includes full-time worker benefits. Spiral supports you working anywhere, but you need a home base in a country whose talent pool Block can legally hire from. If you’re not sure whether we can hire from where you live, just reach out and ask. We’ll check.
How to Apply
Sound good? Not too confused? Great. You’ve cleared the first hurdle. Shoot us an email with the top 3 project ideas you want to work on along with supporting evidence that you’ll successfully complete them: firstname.lastname@example.org