Open-source bitcoin payment processor BTCPay Server released a new security patch this week and credited electric vehicle company Tesla with submitting a disclosure that led to the fixes.
“This is a security release that patches one critical and several low-impact vulnerabilities that affected BTCPay Server versions 220.127.116.11 and older,” BTCPay’s Nicolas Dorier wrote in the release notes. “We want to thank @teslamotors for filing a responsible disclosure, helping us with remediation and handling the situation professionally.”
Last week, Tesla announced that it would be accepting bitcoin as payment for its vehicles, with CEO Elon Musk posting on Twitter that the company is using only open-source software and operating its own Bitcoin nodes.
Throughout Bitcoin’s 12-year history, skeptics have long pointed to funding issues and uncertainties around open-source infrastructure. The criticism is based on the idea that people need to be paid to maintain software and without a direct employer or funding source, open-source software will fall victim to the tragedy of the commons. 2020 began a trend in which private Bitcoin companies are making massive contributions to open-source bitcoin development efforts.
Now, in 2021, we are seeing this trend escalate to companies outside of the immediate Bitcoin ecosystem contributing bug fixes to open-source software. MicroStrategy kicked off contributions to the Bitcoin ecosystem from an educational perspective with its “Bitcoin For Corporations” event, as well as its donations of the hope.com and strategy.com domains to the Bitcoin education effort.
The fact that Tesla found and communicated an issue with using BTCPay Server and ultimately contributed to the open-source process of improving its code is an indication of the direct contributions to the Bitcoin ecosystem that the adoption of bitcoin by more merchants and institutions could ultimately have. These trends are evidence that the “tragedy of the commons” does not apply to open-source Bitcoin software. In fact, as this common is increasingly relied upon, attention from stakeholders will grow.