One of bitcoin’s most experimental startups has grown dramatically over the past year, highlighting both the opportunities and pitfalls of open source development.
Now Adam Ficsor, co-founder of zkSNACKs – the firm behind the privacy-centric Wasabi Wallet – is stepping down from his role as CTO to focus on research as the company matures.
“I was just reviewing other people’s code and managing people, and that’s not what I’m good at. I’m good at coding and researching privacy,” Ficsor said. “It’s getting to the point of being a serious business and we have to be more conservative.”
Wasabi Wallet launched in August 2018, then garnered more than three-dozen open source contributors via GitHub. As a bootstrapped startup that strove to embody the bitcoin’s decentralized ethos, managing contributions is central to Wasabi’s development. There are now five zkSNACKs developers reviewing external submissions as part of the effort to reduce Ficsor’s cornerstone role in the project.
The move to a new CTO follows a bitter feud with Wasabi’s rival, Samourai Wallet, which published critiques of Wasabi’s trademark CoinJoin feature in August. This mixing feature collects pending bitcoin transactions then sends them out in a mixed bunch so it’s harder to identify the source of each transaction.
After the backlash sparked by Samourai’s critique, Dávid Molnár, incoming zkSNACKs CTO, told CoinDesk that Wasabi users clearly require more documentation to avoid confusion. Plus, he added, code should be written in a standardized way that is easier for people to read, regardless of its functionality.
“Adam and me have the same coding style. But when we started the Contribution Game, we also had to write documents about how to code [for Wasabi],” Molnár said, referring to a summer campaign that attracted 15 developers to review code and offer potential solutions. “I plan to continue this procedure.”
Today, the zkSNACKs staff inc...