#134 Amiti Uttarwar is a hands-on Bitcoin-core tinkerer
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Amiti Uttarwar 0:00 When I first got exposed to Bitcoin Core as a project, which is written in c++, and I started learning c++ in my free time, most of my friends were like "you are crazy, is this what you're doing outside of work?". But for me, it was such a relief. I was like, things are explicit, I can understand what I'm telling the computer. The questions of performance are built into any code you write, even though it was overwhelming. It was also really refreshing to me after years of writing Ruby, to be asking these kinds of questions as the emphasis of the language because as I mentioned, what drew me to computers is the logic. In C++, I'm constantly thinking about the resources we have what are the trade offs? That to me is a much more logical endeavor.
Tim Bourguignon 1:07 Hello, and welcome to developer's journey podcast, bringing you the making of stories of successful software developers to help you on your upcoming journey. My name is Tim Bourguignon. And on this episode 134, I received a Amiti Uttarwar. Amiti is a Bitcoin-Core contributor. She focuses on the peer to peer layer, improving privacy, testing, and robustness. She's simply passionate about the potential of Bitcoin to redefine our societal ideas of wealth. When she is not in front of the computer, you will find her off trail backpacking, ice climbing, doing yoga, and meditation, or all of the above, at the same time, like on her Twitter cover right now. Amiti, welcome to DevJourney.
Amiti Uttarwar 1:52 Thank you for having me.
Tim Bourguignon 1:54 Oh, it's my it's my very pleasure. So Amiti, the show exists to help the listeners understand what your story looked like and imagine how to shape their own future. So let's go back to your beginning, shall we? Where would you place the start of your DevJourney?
Amiti Uttarwar 2:12 Well, I think for me, it started really young. I was exposed to programming and computers as early as kindergarten. But I really just had a love of logic. As far back as I could remember, my parents would buy me different puzzle books. And those started off as really dumb jokes, but advanced into kind of mathematical puzzles. And I just found it to be so captivating. That was my definition of fun. And so as far back as I can remember, I've been total logic nerd. And programming has just been one of the ways that that has manifested in my life. And I feel very lucky to be able to spend full time just tinkering with these intellectual puzzles. So I was exposed to, you know, really, really simple programming languages quite early like logo, which involves moving a turtle around your screen and drawing shapes. And then, and then later, in elementary school, it took summer camps where I made a website or did some basic CSS or HTML or something. And it developed from there, as I got older, got more advanced. In college, I went to school for Information Systems, not quite computer science. So it was related, but not a focus on that. And then after college, I was working at startups in San Francisco. So I've explored a lot of different angles of computer systems. And really have found that my favorite is just getting to code on very intellectually engaging difficult problems. Because to me, that's the that's the fun logic that attracted me to computers in the first place.
Tim Bourguignon 4:14 How did you discover that this was the part that interested you the most?
Amiti Uttarwar 4:18 mostly by trying things and seeing what fit. So in college Information Systems was a major that was pretty pragmatic. It was less about, you know, building a compiler, and it was more about how do you build the right computer system for a particular problem. So it was bringing together CS and business to figure out how you define functional systems. And there were a lot of project classes. And through trying that I realized that I didn't really like the project management side of things as much but that was Not something I knew before that, because I do like big picture thinking. Similarly, when I worked at startups in San Francisco, there were aspects I enjoyed. But the really fast pace and focus on trying to deliver features and trying to build out these prototypes of, you know, experimental features that the product or the CEO or leadership team thought was the right direction, I would enjoy it, but I didn't find that I had the right pace, it was always kind of a struggle, because I tend to be a lot more slow and thorough, and I really like building robust systems. So I learned that, okay, this isn't as much fun and and that also manifested in the programming language, like a lot of that was application development in Ruby on Rails, and I just, I really didn't like Ruby on Rails, there's so much magic, and I can see the value of you can really spin up a lot very, very efficiently. But I would often find myself rabbit holding on to traces that weren't necessarily useful. Like, okay, I'm All I'm trying to do is, you know, iterate through this, like, vector, or I guess it's an array in Ruby. But what there's five different ways, what are the differences? And which one's the most correct here? And it's, uh, that's just not the best question to be asking when you're doing Ruby, because it's not optimized for performance. It's, these are all just options and do what fits about right. And so that was something when I first got exposed to Bitcoin Core as a project, which is written in c++. And I started learning c++, in my free time, most of my friends were like, You are crazy. This is what you're doing outside of work. But for me, it was such a relief, I was like, things are explicit, I can't understand what I'm telling the computer. The the questions of performance are built into any code you write. And even though it was, you know, overwhelming, it was also really refreshing to me, after years of writing Ruby, to be asking these kinds of questions as the emphasis of the language, because, as I, as I mentioned, what drew me to computers is the logic. And I think a lot more of that application software tends to be more about communication, there are standards, but they're loosely enforced. You know, there's something there more like conventions that we strive for, and less of a necessity. And it's abstracted away from exactly what is happening at the computer level of, you know, the hardware. Whereas in c++, I'm constantly thinking about the resources we have like how much memory versus CPU, what are the trade offs? And that, to me is a much more logical endeavor there that can be much more easily measured, then, well, how how well does this code read? Or how quickly was it built? Or how well does this support features that are coming up in the future? So it's not that those questions are entirely irrelevant in c++ that is important to to be designing, I think at the end of the day code is that we interact with is more for humans than it is for computers. Because if it was only for computers, we'd be writing binary, or assembly at least. And so a lot of times when we code we are trying to communicate to the computer. But we're also trying to communicate to the other programmers who work on this code base in the future, whether that's yourself or somebody else. So but but but kind of that middle ground of also looking at how the computer is reading it as a priority feels much more logical to me, whereas the application level stuff I always felt was a little bit arbitrary.
Tim Bourguignon 9:16 Nice, I see what you mean, your pleasure is my nightmare. But I did the other way around. So I started with c++ and evolved towards something, something less c++-y. But I can I get I can really understand what you mean. I guess it's kind of a trade off between readability for humans and quality of what you're writing. From a machine standpoint. It's really a trade off there. And c++ is really at the sweet spot there. So do you have the feeling that a CS degree would have been better for you, in hindsight?
Amiti Uttarwar 9:53 at this point, I am like, Wow, it would be so much fun to build a compiler from scratch but I don't know that I was ready for that in college, I think a lot of my college experience, I was very grateful to have had a strong degree from a environment that was, you know, very academically inclined and exposed me to a lot of different ideas, a lot of smart people that I got to work with. But at the same time, my biggest takeaways from college were a lot of my own self growth and learning, identifying what is important to me, what motivates me, how do I build a lifestyle that I believe in, because you know, before that, just going to school, even, you're told what to do for the vast majority of your life, you're told, either by your school or your parents, you're trying to fit these molds of what homework and how to perform, or even if you're in a sports game, like, you know, you have to go to practice and everything is very well defined, and that transition into adult life where you get to choose that for yourself, I think we still have methods, one could, you know, go to a job, and then let that job prescribe how you live your life. But for me, college was this transition period, where I asked a lot of these very existential, big questions. And it wasn't, it wasn't without struggle. But reflecting deeply on those really created a foundation for which I feel like I've been able to thrive in adulthood, because I feel very clear on what motivates me and what makes me happy
Tim Bourguignon 11:36 Alright, gotcha, sounds familiar. That's, that's something I lived through as well. So I can relate to this. And also, would you say that I wasn't ready for that, I have the same feeling to I went through some kind of similar degrees, which you did nowadays, I go back to these CSs topics and building, building deeper levels, stuff. And now I have a completely different understanding of what it is. And I think now, after 15 years, working in tech, I kind of understand what's what's really at stake there. And I have a completely different view on it. And now we'll be ready to do this. So if I were to go back, and and start a CS degree, again, that would be the time.
Amiti Uttarwar 12:26 I think at the time, it was nice to have something that's pragmatic, and how do I build relevant systems. And now I've seen use cases of where this deep CS knowledge is useful for relevant systems, at least in my perception. So that's what makes it interesting. But I think at the time, I probably would have had a hard time performing well in those classes or staying engaged because like, Who cares what a compiler is doing?
Tim Bourguignon 12:55 You just said, "Now that you see the applications", are you the type of person that need to see an application of something to to get motivated and interested, or you kind of be a theoretical type excited by the theory and the potential of a theoretical idea?
Amiti Uttarwar 13:10 I think I am kind of hands on Tinker. And that's what motivates me is seeing the relevance. I do like theory and kind of more academic ideas in terms of big thinking, but it needs to somehow be connected to reality for it to appeal to me. A lot of that is what makes Bitcoin a really fun project for me to work on. Because it is kind of walking this line of something that's academic as well as something that's a real world application. Or, I don't know if you can call it an application, but it's a thing.
Tim Bourguignon 13:48 Well, it's being traded right now. So I guess that's one application. And at the time of the recording Bitcoin is going bananas, and I think Coinbase would have been having some problems with it right now. And I don't so it looks like real life to me. Let's let's get into this. This, this Bitcoin? How what was the past that led you to putting your fingers into bitcoin? Can you can you tell us that story?
Amiti Uttarwar 14:15 totally. So you know that Steve Jobs quote where, you know, looking backwards, all the dots Connect? I feel like my story is a bit like that. My first job out of college, I worked at a startup that was a consumer shopping app. And I really loved the developer culture there. And I'm so grateful that that was my first job because it really exposed me to strong practices and a supportive environment. And I think the most important thing of being a developer is the confidence of, well, if I want to and I spent long enough, I'll be able to figure this out. And that culture gave me that confidence. I previously did not have. But I didn't really care as much for the product. It was just a consumer shopping app. So promoting consumerism. So then my next job, I was seeking a more meaningful product. So I found that role at a company called simbi, which is a platform online for trading, bartering services and, and also objects, but it was focused on services. And this was really, really cool to me to see this economy of people who were engaging, but not at all in any fiat currency, there was an internal currency to the website called sim D, which was used to when you can't find like a direct match of services that you want to trade. But because it was a very early small project, since we didn't have like a fixed value yet, so it was kind of arbitrary. And everybody who was offering their services was doing it partially just because of the joy of sharing something they were excited about, or meeting people who are interested in similar things. And I met all sorts of cool people, I learned all sorts of cool things. Everything from I learned how to throw a murder mystery party, I learned how to poach a chicken. I talked to people, I learned that I know a lot about yoga that people were eager to, to learn themselves. And I've never thought of myself as an expert, but because on this platform, we weren't using, you know, US dollars or money that you could pay rent for. You didn't have to be an expert, that hyper focus on expert knowledge was something that was really showed to me that this is the focus in our modern day society. But this is a product of the way that our monetary system works, not something that needs to be like I know enough about yoga that I can help people, I don't have to be a trained instructor. And I tell them that, you know, like they should listen to their own bodies. They shouldn't do anything they don't feel comfortable with. And, and but I do have knowledge I can share, like the way I deal with family and friends. So this really started the ideas in my mind that questioned what parts of our society revolve around money, what are implications that we didn't necessarily intend that are predominant today. And kind of sowed the seed for me to learn about Bitcoin? So while I was there, it was in 2017, when there was another bull run of Bitcoin. And that's what I guess somehow I heard about it. And I was doing things like watching a TED talk of what is a blockchain and I read the Bitcoin white paper. And it really just compelled me the idea of a blockchain introducing a fundamental new trust model. because historically, we've only really seen to trust models. When it's direct, I get to know you, you get to know me, we can make promises, we can do trades, we can, you know, have future ongoing debt, etc. And the other is hierarchical, which extends this direct trust model out to more people, because the direct one, you know, only skill so far, I think Dunbar's number claims 150. But the hierarchical trust model is what runs our world today. Everything from credit cards and banks and fiat currencies to tech companies like Amazon, where you look at reviews or Airbnb, where you look at reviews, or schools and business, everything like that's the predominant one. So to hear of a new idea around, okay, there's this technology, it's called a blockchain. It's kind of fancy, but it's also kind of simple. And the idea is that two strangers don't have to trust one another. But they can do trades. They can trade money, and they can agree on what happened. And however many people want to participate, can also agree on who has how much money so the idea really compelled me. And ever since then, I was just kind of looking for ways to get closer. It was a journey of ups and downs of interest and losing motivation because I was overwhelmed and didn't know how to actually turn from consumption into creation in the field, but it went through lots of waves. But that was really where it all started. And I just knew that this was something that excited me and this was the first time that I did anything professional outside of my work. I always thought, okay, I like my job, it's really cool that I get to do this. But when it ends, I want to go, I want to go hiking, I want to go, you know, listen to music, I want to, I want to use other parts of my body or my brain. So I knew something was different when I started reading white papers in my free time.
Tim Bourguignon 20:25 How did you get in shape to apply for Coinbase? to basically move this hobby, this newfound hobby of yours to your main activity? How did you get into this, this process and then finally applying get there?
Amiti Uttarwar 20:39 Yeah, um, I mean, Coinbase was also a stepping stone, I have now a full time contributor to Bitcoin Core, and I couldn't be happier. But I think it was tough. But it was also familiar, like I've had the luxury of working at startups in the Bay Area. So there's a lot of really relevant skills, whether it's interviewing, or the application development. And so I had quit my my previous job at sim D. And I knew that Queen base was where I wanted to be. So I took some time off, I did some self learning. And I did a little bit of time off a little bit of professional learning. And, and then I started practicing, I just started practicing for the interview, I interviewed at other places, knowing that I wanted to go to Coinbase. I actually first got my application, when it went through, my recruiter got rejected. And I wasn't able to get to the screening round. But then I knew somebody at Coinbase. And through them, I was able to get a interview. And from there, it was a lot of stressing out and crossing my fingers and practicing. You know,
Tim Bourguignon 21:58 And many rounds of interviews, probably.
Amiti Uttarwar 22:00 Yeah, I think pretty typical for Bay Area, like a Silicon Valley startup interview process where I think there was a code challenge or a initial remote interview, and then after that, it was just on site.
Tim Bourguignon 22:17 Okay, did you get to work on the part of Coinbase touching the touching the Bitcoin process right away?
Amiti Uttarwar 22:26 So I was on the crypto team, and we were the ones who most directly worked with the assets. So the blockchains Bitcoin Ethereum Litecoin, like, there were a few others we supported. And then during my time there, we added more, so I did get to kind of work directly. But that said, in many ways, it was kind of hands off, because the original implementation for handling Bitcoin, the blockchain, and was like our wallet was already built out. So I maintain the wallet and I added a few new features, but I didn't have to get super deep on Okay, exactly. How does the Bitcoin protocol work or hitting the RPC or p2p messages? I more so was in that application level logic of all right, I already have the transaction ends, I already have the blocks reorg czar handled. But now let me implement something new. I worked on a migration from our cold storage solution to upgrading it to a better more secure cold storage. So that was more like dealing with API's and kind of classic Ruby, Ruby programming.
Tim Bourguignon 23:41 When When did you decide okay, this is not technical enough for me, and I want to go one step deeper and go toward the Bitcoin Core.
Amiti Uttarwar 23:49 Yeah, I think it was a bit gradual, where I was seeking, like, how do I learn more, and I was doing that within Coinbase as well as beyond Coinbase. So I was just kind of trying to do whatever I was attending conferences and gathering my courage to introduce myself to people at those conferences. I think with the way I landed in Bitcoin Core actually came because there was something called Bitcoin Optech, which is an organization that is created to help all the different wallets and exchanges who are building on Bitcoin, as well as individuals who are interested in learning about Bitcoin, collaborate with one another and discuss like the technical best practices. So I guess while I'm mentioning them a quick blurb, if anybody's interested in technical developments on Bitcoin, they have a weekly newsletter, and that's the best way to stay up to date. But that's a side note. The thing that I heard about there was a workshop that they were having, and they invite like their member companies to send a few people to Do these workshops. And that found I found that to be really appealing because sometimes I get glassy eyed at conferences, just trying to soak everything in. Whereas the interactive nature of a workshop seemed like a really good learning format and exposure to the Bitcoin protocol. And so I, I got myself invited by just like asking a bunch, like, hey, can it go, even though company only has two representatives and Coinbase already had their two, I managed to get myself invited. And there I met one of the Bitcoin Core contributors, and I was chatting with him and he said, Oh, like, if you're interested in contributing a Bitcoin Core, you could totally do it, I'd be happy to help you carve out your path. And so I that was the little foot through the door that I needed. I was able to say, Oh, yeah, give me something to do. Like, okay, I went and installed the Bitcoin Core repo, I got it building and test running, which actually took me a little bit of time, because I hadn't worked in any compiled languages for actually ever done that in school. So I learned the basics. And then but but I would do it, and then I'd go, Okay, I did it. What's next? Okay, take a look at the functional tests, you know, see how you spin up a node. And I would spend a really long time doing it and come back and say, Okay, I did it, what's next. And so that provided for me some path that I could work hard and go down, and it would add up to something, or I had the faith that it did. And that was where I got started. And then from there, there have been a lot of a lot of people and programs that have really helped me kind of develop into a full time Bitcoin Core contributor, which is where I'm at now,
Tim Bourguignon 26:54 That's fascinating. can basically anyone get their foot in the door and get started with this and and start participating in this open source effort? Or I mean, is this is this, um, a repo like, like any other on GitHub? Or is it? Is it more? In a walled garden more secure? I have no idea about that. So honest question.
Amiti Uttarwar 27:21 yeah, totally. It is absolutely a repo just like any other on GitHub. So you can check it out, go to github.com, slash Bitcoin slash Bitcoin. And that's all of the code for Bitcoin Core. And that's where the vast majority of decision making happens. The only supplementary communication channel that's project wide is on IRC, which is also super open. So it's a Bitcoin dash dev channel. So anybody can participate there as well. So in that way, yes, anybody can is completely open, completely transparent. There's all of the history of decisions, as well as all the current activity and conversations are available. That said, I do think there are some barriers to entry. Like it is a deeply technical project with a set of contributors who have been thinking about this for a really long time, and very high stakes. You know, it's it's trying to be money. I mean, it is money. So if we, if we make mistakes, the the cost of that is extremely high. So we're very careful about how how we change the software. But I think that if anybody is interested, and willing to dedicate a long time, a lot of effort over time, then it is it is totally possible. And I'm very keen on getting more people who are kind of like me, who've never thought they would be able to, but are happy to work really hard and have that impact add up to something because it's, it's been an amazing experience. For me, I've learned so much. It's some of the best engineers in the world, just in all sincerity. I can't imagine having access to this quality of engineer and just having them review your code or even being able to lurk on what they're doing and see how they're thinking about things and proposing changes to such a technical deep system, which has very explicit constraints. It's it's really, really demanding, but that also means that it's demanded me to learn as fast as I possibly can. And so I've been contributing to the Quad Core i think i started in 20 2019. Yeah, I guess we're in 2021. So it's been a couple years now, but my my learning has not slowed down, because there's so much depth and complexity, and it feels like a very supportive environment with calibre of engineers that maybe I get access to if I worked on the right team at Google, or similar kind of really high barrier to entry, kind of like one of these super legit tech companies. But usually, they'd be super swamped and not have time to work with somebody who's at my level. So it's quite an incredible opportunity to be an engineer and learn on this project.
Tim Bourguignon 30:26 Absolutely fascinating. I feel abashed. This is your job, right? This is not a side project anymore.
Amiti Uttarwar 30:35 Correct!
Tim Bourguignon 30:36 So how is the financing of whole this? Is there a company behind Bitcoin is or an institution? How does it work out?
Amiti Uttarwar 30:43 Yeah, it's an interesting question. So Bitcoin as software is decentralized, and relies on nodes all over the world running Bitcoin. So just computers running Bitcoin equals node. So it is very important that there are different entities who are mining it, who are participating, and validating, etc. And that decentralized principle goes in all of the levels. So it also applies to funding. And so there's no central entity that sponsors Bitcoin development. But there are several different entities that sponsor Bitcoin development in many different ways. A few of them, like there's chain code labs, which sponsors like full time employees, and is based in New York, and others, for example, what I currently have is grants that are I'm co sponsored by two organizations bitmex and ok coin, which are both like wallet exchanges that support Bitcoin? And, and see the need for long term development and maintenance of Bitcoin. So they have I have a situation where I'm on a grant program, and I guess I'm technically self employed, right. Now,
Tim Bourguignon 32:00 How does the governance of hold this works? Is it like any other project, you have a bunch of maintainers? I kind of have a stronger voice than the others and easier, like, like, W3C committee decided on this?
Amiti Uttarwar 32:19 So there are maintainers, and they are the ones who have the keys to merge code, but they are not there. It's different than many models of projects, because again, they're striving for decentralized decision making. And so rather than being the ones with the final decision, or being the ones to kind of enforce particular ideas, what they're trying to do is observe whether or not the community has accepted these changes. So yeah, so on a PR, everybody can review it. And reputation is definitely relevant. Like if somebody who's been in the codebase for several several years, has has something to say their their opinion, weighs in differently than, you know, somebody who just showed up today. But that's it, everybody's opinion does matter. And we have a system that comes in the form of leaving, like x, we call it AC K, which is been around doing a lot of computer graphics. But that's fundamental to how in Bitcoin we agree or express disagreement around changes. And so anybody can propose a change, anybody can review a change. And if a change a kpr, has gotten enough x and doesn't have any substantial knacks, or bugs, etc, as pointed out by the reviewers, then one of the maintainers will merge it. So yeah, again, it's a decentralized kind of decision making process.
Tim Bourguignon 33:55 This is fascinating. This is such such an important project nowadays. It's hard to imagine how that how that can work completely decentralized, but I I'm looking at some some pull requests on GitHub right now I see some ACKs
Amiti Uttarwar 34:12 I think it's really intersting, as well as important. The thing that about Bitcoin that I think is very powerful and significant is the fact that we have never seen a digital currency that is inclusive by nature, it's not a new idea, because gold is this way. If you have gold, you can transact in gold. If somebody will accept it. There's nobody that's enforcing and saying, hey, like, give me your proof of address or no, I don't like that you work in the sex industry. So I'm not gonna let you you know, unless somebody is there to slap it out of your hand. They can't prevent you from using the school to transact with another and this is this is an inclusive monetary system, but in our Digital Age, we we don't really have that, like fiat currencies, you know, dollars, to some extent is inclusive, like if you can get it or not, but it is backed by nation states. And especially like, for example, this year in us, when when we see all of this money printing going on, there's this second order effects of how that affects countries and people who live in other countries who don't get the privileges of the money being printed, but do get some of the consequences. And I mean, I could go on about this forever, but like, like, just weave, what we see now in in the world are our financial systems that are exclusive, that serve certain groups of people. And they work great if you're in that group of people. But the moment you have use cases that lands you outside of it, and it doesn't have to be extreme for a summer internship, I had a friend from South Africa come over to the US. And she had the hardest time just getting paid, because she didn't have a proof of address because she was only here for the summer. And so she couldn't open a bank account. And so the company couldn't give her the stipend in order to like, just cover her expenses. And it's not that she's doing anything illicit, or it's not that she's doing in like anything that puts her in an extreme use case, it's quite ordinary. And however, the financial system is not serving her in this situation. And we hear more about this cropping up all the time, whether it's like somebody in the UK was trying to buy CBD for his mom, or somebody in Belarus is trying to protest for democracy, like there's all levels of extremity. But at the end of the day, the system works great if you're allowed in. And that's the problem with a system that's exclusive by design. But Bitcoin as a fundamental idea, and this is why we are decentralized decentralization is just a tool to get us to an inclusive money, one that anybody can participate in, like, at the protocol level, I look at this every single day, because I work on the peer to peer network. I review prs and I try to make sure that no entity should be able to participate, to prevent another entity from participating in the system. And as we become more of a global society, I think that this is so important that we have a global money that people can use. It's not much more complicated than that.
Tim Bourguignon 37:39 It is, but it do to come back to your story, it definitely sounds as if you had found the the meaningful product you were looking for.
Amiti Uttarwar 37:47 Yeah, I, I find that the combination of real world impact, as well as the endless like learning opportunity, and the fact that I'm challenged on a day to day basis to be kind of the two the two parts that together really keep me motivated and satisfied and engaged.
Tim Bourguignon 38:09 Did you do you think you're gonna work on Bitcoin for the rest of your life? Oh, and this decentralized money of FIAT currency, overtaking money? For forever? How do you see your, uh, your your future in there?
Amiti Uttarwar 38:24 Um, I really don't know, but I can't currently imagine working on anything else. That technical learning and how much how much further I have to go I still feel like I'm just getting started. Whereas when I was at other companies two years in I was kind of like, Okay, my learning slowing Actually, I don't know if I made it two full years. That was kind of the mark. But here I feel like I'm just getting started. And also in terms of just real world impact and the vision I see of how how powerful this could be for wealth distribution in our world.
Tim Bourguignon 39:05 And we mainly talk about Bitcoin, but there there are other attempts at virtual currency or virtual distributed currencies. Do you think you could be working on something else and Bitcoin or is really Bitcoin? It's it's kind of the lion's share right now. The one the one that you that you that you like and love,
Amiti Uttarwar 39:27 yes. So, the way I kind of approach this question of what are my thoughts on other cryptocurrencies is is an inclusive maximalist? I am I'm generous with my support of other projects, but I'm exclusive with my attention. And I mean, I think that is cool that crypto as a whole space is exploring these alternative models of government governance and you know, communal agreements, communal contracts of like, how does that Society do stuff. And I think that's really awesome. But I think a lot of it tends to be kind of best approach to thought as academic, a lot of it's really experimental and very, very early. I think bitcoins quite early, I think Bitcoin, like we'll see it play out over our lifetime. And that the the vision I see is something that will reach far beyond my own lifetime. But that even the other crypto projects have an even longer time scale in terms of how early they are, and just really don't compare like in in terms of the pragmatic application. So I think they're worthwhile experiments, but do not interest me because Bitcoin is like extremely tangible, it has a very well defined goal is to be money. We are aligned in terms of people who work on Bitcoin, or people who buy into bitcoin have some of the fundamental ideas that enable that, like the decentralization principles, like fundamental to having an inclusive monetary system, and other projects kind of experiment with different ways of, of whether it's distributing funding funding through a central committee or through a pre mine, or if it's proof of work versus proof of stake, you know, aetherium has been tinkering for the past few years, with moving over to a proof of stake system, which is an entirely different trust model and an entirely different premise. I I think that viewing that work as more like an academic experimental thing is an appropriate lens, whereas Bitcoin, I do think it is a real world project, where we're looking at some really deep kind of, you could call them edge cases right now, but it's this currencies to take off like that as important security that we are developing. Whereas this is this is unparalleled by anything else in the crypto space at this time.
Tim Bourguignon 42:06 Thank you. A very interesting answer. I cannot see your eyes but the I can hear the sparkles in your eyes when you talk about that is that is very, very energizing to to hear your motivation then and how passionate you are. And that would be the advice I would like to I want to ask you to to end this show is what would be your tip for for younger, who may actually not not necessarily younger people who haven't find the found their their passion yet on how to make one step toward finding this what what makes them passionate, and then want to want to wake up in the morning and work.
Amiti Uttarwar 42:50 Yeah, I mean, it's a hard problem. But if you're asking that question, I think you're on the right track of how do I find my joyful contributions to the world I live in. Because some people can just live in a state where you're just getting by and continue living in that state and never asked that question. So I think asking the question is the first really important step. And then beyond that is listening to yourself, listening to your body, listening to what gives you energy, and just exploring things, trying things and realizing that the failures or the setbacks are getting you closer to that direction. You know, it's easy for me to be like, Ah, yes, find your passion. It's so easy, but like, but it wasn't, it was a painful journey for me. And a lot of times I felt very, very lost. And I was just tinkering to see what what can I learn from this, no matter what the experience was? So just keep trying. And hopefully it works out.
Tim Bourguignon 43:55 Hopefully it does. Thank you. Yeah, definitely a good a good advice. And I love that you say this, that it wasn't wasn't all candy and unicorns, even though you were working on on Bitcoin very early, and you finally made it your your passion, but it wasn't a happy path all the time. That is that is really, really encouraging to hear that sometime at the end of the path, it becomes better. Thank you very much for that. And I mean, where should we send the listeners if they wanted to? To ask you more questions about Bitcoin started discussion with you. And and get to know more about what would you do for Bitcoin?
Amiti Uttarwar 44:32 Yeah, so you can find me on Twitter @amizi, or on GitHub, we can put the links in the notes. I'm very open to emails if you're interested. And I also have a blog post about my onboarding to Bitcoin Core journey. I'm very eager if anybody is interested to learn how they can do it. If you're willing to work hard, then I'm happy to Give you steps so that you can, you know, turn that into something useful. And we're always looking for more people. It's quite a small project. And it's an amazing place to learn small project.
Tim Bourguignon 45:13 Okay, I see what you meant, but it sounds it sounds ridiculous. This is so big!
Amiti Uttarwar 45:19 But in terms of the developer group, like on Bitcoin Core, there's probably only about 30 full time active contributors. And yeah, if you if you look at the contributors page, I think this is like a classic power law thing, where you get four commits, you're in the top 100 contributors ever, wow, a lot of those are like, they're not all active contributors, you know, some of them are contributors who were here for a few years and then left. So there's only like, a ballpark of 30 people who are really looking at this project. So there is actually a shocking amount of low hanging fruit in terms of technical work to be done. That's what's you know, really cool, like, I've been able to onboard faster than I expected, because there's so much work to do.
Tim Bourguignon 46:10 Amazing. Yeah, I see right now. Number 35.
Amiti Uttarwar 46:15 You compare that to like the market cap or whatever is insane.
Tim Bourguignon 46:21 It is insane. Um, anything totally on your plate, anything you want to plug in.
Amiti Uttarwar 46:29 I think I already plugged my onboarding to Bitcoin post. And if anybody's interested, please reach out.
Tim Bourguignon 46:36 We'll add all this to the show notes. And people please do this. Thank you very much has been fascinating listening to your story.
Amiti Uttarwar 46:44 Thank you for having me.
Tim Bourguignon 46:45 And this has been another episode of DevJourney, and with each other next week, bye, bye. I hope you have enjoyed this story as much as I did. I must admit, I was so captivated by the hidden side of Bitcoin, that I couldn't stop digging for more information. I found it so empowering, making history or at least being part of it has never felt so close. A few pull requests a way to be exact. Almost. Tell me what you think about Amiti's story. And tell me what inspired you for your own journey. You can reach me on Twitter, I am @timothep, or use the comments section on our website right under the transcript of this episode. Last but not least, we just heard it. Bitcoin is inclusive by nature. And so should our industry be. Do your friends a favor and talk to them about the deaf journey podcast? The diversity of life stories we hear and how inspiring they all are. And remember, be curious. Always.