The price of bitcoin has been on a rollercoaster recently. Whilst we’ve hit new highs and 25% dips in January alone, the rest of 2021 is going to be quite a ride.

Beyond the price action plenty has taken place across the development space. Below we’ve covered a few of them.

Putting in the work

  • 172 developers contributed code to Bitcoin Core last year.
  • 64 to LND
  • 46 to C-lightning

Source: Jameson Lopp

What does this mean? Jameson Lopp’s 2020 Annual Review is a great round up of last years Bitcoin non-price metrics. 2020 undoubtedly earmarks a key year of growth for Bitcoin.

Umbrel App Store

Just as we were closing the year on a high, December 2020 saw the launch of an App Store by Umbrel. Umbrel is an easy to install free and open-source Bitcoin and Lightning node with a user friendly front end. It allows self-hosted open-source apps on top of it, such as BTC Pay Server, Specter and Ride the Lightning. The Umbrel App Framework also makes it possible to develop an app in any language.

Coinswap on Testnet

The first multi-transaction Coinswap on Bitcoin testnet recently took place. Coinswap is a non-custodial privacy technique, currently being developed by Chris Belcher, with the aim of breaking the analysis techniques used to link sent and received bitcoins. Read the Design Implementation Document to learn more.

PTLC proof of concept

The Suredbits team works on Discreet Log Contracts, a type of smart contract built on top of Bitcoin. You can read our piece about the basics of DLCs to learn more. They have recently developed a proof-of-concept for PTLCs (Point-Time-Locked-Contracts), which they call “an upgrade to the existing payment mechanism on the Lightning Network called Hash Time Locked Contracts (HTLCs)” and believe it will be a “cornerstone for building new financial products and services based on Lightning”.

Battle for P2SH

To understand how Bitcoin’s infrastructure has become what it is now, it is useful to look at the history of its development. Aaron van Wirdum and Pete Rizzo from Bitcoin Magazine wrote a detailed and engaging piece about how P2SH, after a long battle, was merged into Bitcoin. The article provides an insight as to how development decisions have been made since Satoshi’s departure.


Justin Moon shared a useful guide on verifying Bitcoin Core last month. Justin shows us how to verify that your download of bitcoin core is legitimate. See the handy and technical guide here. Justin Moon's guide. A must for all that don’t trust!

Happy New Year to you and we hope this provided some food for thought.