Jack Dorsey Pledges $21M Toward Open-Source Development to Advance Bitcoin

The tech entrepreneur's donation will fund crypto projects and a decentralized social network that aims to be censorship-free.

Jack Dorsey in an orange shirt.
Jack Dorsey has long been a vocal proponent of Bitcoin. MARCO BELLO/AFP via Getty Images

Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter and head of payments company Block, is reaffirming his commitment to Bitcoin. The billionaire’s charity Start Small is giving $21 million to OpenSats, a tech nonprofit focused on open-source projects related to the cryptocurrency.

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Dorsey in recent years has increasingly lauded open-source protocols, which aim to combat centralized power and censorship. Since stepping down from Twitter in 2021 before its $44 billion sale to Elon Musk, who has since renamed the social media platform X, he has supported decentralized open-source social networks like Bluesky and Nostr—the latter of which is especially popular in the Bitcoin community.

Around $5 million of Dorsey’s donation will go toward OpenSat’s Nostr Fund, which supports the development of the social network and related software. Dorsey previously donated 14 Bitcoin, then valued at around a quarter of a million dollars, to Nostr in 2022. The tech entrepreneur reiterated his support for Nostr earlier this month in an interview with venture capitalist Mike Solana, explaining that he recently stepped down from Bluesky’s board because unlike Nostr, it wasn’t “a protocol that’s truly decentralized.”

Read more of Observer’s Philanthropy coverage

Another $15 million of Dorsey’s gift will benefit Bitcoin-related projects supported by OpenSat’s General Fund, while the remaining $1 million will go toward the nonprofit’s operating budget. Dorsey has long been a fan of OpenSat, giving it $10 million last year and telling Forbes he hoped the donation would help OpenSat turn Bitcoin into “the native currency of the internet.”

What is OpenSat?

In addition to funding new Bitcoin-related software and improving existing open-source projects, the nonprofit supports increasing Bitcoin research and education initiatives. Ongoing projects supported by OpenSat include the Bitcoin Design Community’s attempts to make crypto more accessible and BTCPay Server, a self-hosted open-source crypto payment processor. OpenSats has also previously received financial contributions from the Reynolds Foundation, a nonprofit created by Jane Street Capital co-founder Tim Reynolds.

An avid crypto enthusiast, Dorsey has previously stated that “Bitcoin changes absolutely everything,” adding that “I don’t think there is anything more important in my lifetime to work on.” Dorsey, who has an estimated net worth of $4.5 billion, last year gave $5 million to Brink, a Bitcoin development nonprofit, and donated $1 million in 2021 to crypto think tank Coin Center.

He’s also used non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in his philanthropy, having sold an NFT of his first-ever tweet in 2021 for $2.9 million and donating the proceeds to the nonprofit GiveDirectly. Dorsey’s largest philanthropic endeavor to date, however, occurred in 2020 when he pledged $1 billion to Covid-19 relief programs in the form of shares of his company Square, now known as Block. The commitment, which saw multi-million-dollar gifts funneled toward contact tracing and Covid-19 testing initiatives like Vital Strategies and CORE, additionally focuses on organizations working toward universal basic income and supporting girls’ health and education.

Jack Dorsey Pledges $21M Toward Open-Source Development to Advance Bitcoin