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Generally speaking, how can:

A) A programmer contribute to Bitcoin?

B) A non-programmer contribute to Bitcoin?

Essentially; which areas are in most need of programming work / non-programming work?

9

As a Programmer

You can contribute by acquiring the bitcoin source code at github. Fixing bugs, adding features and creating a "pull request". Here are guidelines for creating pull requests.

Gavin Andresen, currently the lead developer of bitcoin, has suggested that testing is a bottleneck, so it would be helpful to compile the existing pull requests on github and test them.

It should be noted that it is possible to safely test bitcoin transactions without using real bitcoins by using the testnet (see the -testnet command line option). You can even create your own self-contained testnet-in-a-box.

As a Non-Programmer

Learn more about bitcoin. Try using them. Learn proper ways to secure them. When you become better versed in bitcoin technology help by explaining it to others. If you have a business, experiment with accepting bitcoin. If you are a customer, ask if a business accepts bitcoin. Help to dispel the myths and misunderstandings of bitcoin whenever you talk about them. However, be careful to get your facts straight.

If you have talents in other areas such as design, business, or blogging, etc. then look for ways to contribute using those skills. It has been suggested that the client needs better interface designs, businesses have expressed interest in advice on bitcoins, blogging can help address all the misinformation and rhetoric.

Everyone has something they could contribute, so give it a try.

  • 2
    Also, open source projects ALWAYS need documentation. – lemonginger Sep 2 '11 at 19:48
7

Developers

Join one of the many bitcoin library projects on Google Code or Github:

  • Multibit A Java based front end client
  • BitCoinJ A Java based support library to make developing Bitcoin based applications much easier
  • BitCoinSharp A C# based support library (sister project to BitCoinJ)

Marketers

Spread the word about Bitcoin to others. Download a copy of one of the many wallet applications to your phone and demonstrate using it to buy something from someone.

Speculators

Spend some of your coins to encourage merchants to adopt Bitcoin. Goods and services will be encouraged by demand. So buy stuff you need on a daily basis using bitcoins.

  • It would help if whoever downvoted this explained why so that edits can take place. – Gary Rowe Sep 2 '11 at 15:32
  • guessing that it was someone who disagrees that hoarding coins is bad – lemonginger Sep 2 '11 at 19:49
  • Good point since under close analysis hoarding may not be detrimental. I'll edit accordingly and see if it goes away. – Gary Rowe Sep 3 '11 at 8:39
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Whether you are a programmer, or a non-programmer, Bitcoin needs talented minds to help make it easier to use, and more widely accepted.

For programmers, one key area needing help is the User Interface (for both the trading exchanges and the wallets). Another area is helping the payment processors like http://bit-pay.com get written into all of the popular shopping carts.

For non-programmers, the key area needing help is marketing. What is the most effective way to tell people about this great new invention called bitcoin? It's very much like the invention of the internet. It will change people's lives, once they discover it. And they will, one person at a time.

  • 3
    It's important to note that since it's unbacked, network effect is the only thing that gives bitcoin value. If you want to add value to the system, add people. – David Perry Aug 31 '11 at 5:19
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The easiest thing to do is to try and start using it, and tell others about your experience. The more people that know about bitcoin and are out there trying it.... the better off bitcoin will be.

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