Microsoft just finalized its $7.5 billion acquisition of GitHub, an online collaborative space connecting some 28 million software developers and coders. Monday, Microsoft corporate vice president Nat Friedman will take over as CEO of GitHub. The deal has been in the works since June, but Friday’s announcement makes it official. And top cryptocurrency developers are already expressing their discontent about the takeover. Some are even calling for the crypto community to pull all Bitcoin projects from GitHub’s repositories. At the root of the anger is concern over GitHub’s independence under Microsoft’s control. As a result, Microsoft’s GitHub acquisition could produce a major shakeup on the cryptocurrency development space.
GitHub Is Home to Crypto Developers
From its inception, Bitcoin has been built on two core principles: open source development and decentralization. Of course, the two are related.
Open-source coding projects, which allow anyone to view, review and edit software programs, are a key part of decentralization, making sure what a program does and how it gets used is never controlled or determined by an overarching central authority. Bitcoin is what it is today because Satoshi Nakamoto, the still-unknown creator of the Bitcoin blockchain, made their work open source from the outset.
A decade later, cryptocurrency culture is still a culture of open-source coding. And a major hub of cryptocurrency development activity has been the platform. Currently, Ethereum is one of the fastest growing projects on Github.
GitHub, you probably already know, is an online collaborative space for software developers from all over the world to connect and share each other’s projects. With millions of users every day, it’s actually the largest community of developers in the world.
Developer collaboration has launched hundreds of cryptocurrency tokens over the years. And for tech-savvy investors, the ability to follow a token’s development (and make sure it isn’t some vaporware scam) on GitHub is invaluable. But now, some crypto developers are migrating off of the platform. And that’s leading many to wonder what impact Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub will have on cryptocurrency developers.
Why Does Microsoft’s Acquisition of GitHub Matter to the Crypto Community?
In important ways, Microsoft’s business model is anathema to the core principles of BitCoin. In other words, Microsoft is a highly centralized organization whose products are closed source, not open to the public. But GitHub has made decentralization and open source development a priority. In turn, that has made a great many cryptocurrency projects possible beyond BitCoin.
In the short term, Microsoft’s $7.5B acquisition of GitHub will create a rift between crypto and the wider tech community. The latter are praising Microsoft’s embrace of peer-to-peer networks. But the former are up in arms over what they see as a major encroachment on an open source project from a centralized tech giant. So for now, expect crypto developers to scatter their projects to other platforms. Unfortunately, that could make it harder for people to follow and contribute to needed projects, slowing crypto development down.
For their part, Nat Friedman is trying to assure users that Microsoft won’t interfere with its independence. In fact, GitHub’s new CEO is promising wide-ranging improvements to the platform’s performance and security and a commitment to GitHub’s developer-first values.