1

I am newbie in this area.

As I understand, Bitcoin was started as open-source project; But what about now?

I see on Github there is 'Bitcoin Core', is it bitcoin repository? https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin

Or maybe government or corporations already bought it, like, for example, Github..

3

Is Bitcoin completely Open-Source?

No.

Of course it depends on what you mean by Bitcoin and what you mean by Open-Source


"Open-Source"

Most definitions of "Open-Source" focus exclusively on Open SOurce Software. There are good in-depth and rigorous definitions for what makes a piece of software "Open-Source" or not.

A few definitions of "Open-Source" allow the phrase to apply to things other than computer software. For example techopedia:

Open source revolves around the concept of freely sharing technological information so that it may be improved through multiple insights and viewpoints. Since the technology is open source, the amount of work that needs to be done is reduced because multiple contributions are added by many individuals. This concept existed way before the age of computers and even before the industrial age when people shared and improved recipes for food and medicine, for example.

The broader Bitcoin ecosystem certainly contains important concepts, ideas, services and products that are completely proprietary or contain proprietary elements. For example, some prominent ASIC mining hardware designs, some hosted wallet services.


"Bitcoin"

It is arguable what Bitcoin is or is not. One reasonable definition is that is a published set of rules and network protocols by which a distributed peer-to-peer currency can be sustained.

In my view it would be incorrect to say that Bitcoin is solely or fundamentally a piece of software (open source or not).

Some people have created and maintain open-source software (e.g. "Bitcoin core") which implements those rules (or a coherent subset of them) but there can still be proprietary software doing the same job and interoperating with installations of open-source software.

The rules are managed through a process which is fairly open (see BIPs) - but ultimately which Bitcoin rules are adopted is determined only by the consensus of people operating Bitcoin nodes. It wouldn't be right to label this process as "open source".

  • Right; it's like asking if the Internet is open source. Certainly a large portion of the infrastructure that supports the Internet is open source, but there there also less open pieces around. Perhaps a better question is whether you can interact fully with Bitcoin with just open source software, in which case the answer is yes. – Pieter Wuille Oct 15 '18 at 16:57
  • I dunno. Is GCC not "open source" because people sometimes write proprietary software with it? :) – G. Maxwell Oct 15 '18 at 17:13
  • @G Maxwell But "GCC" isn't the name given to the ecosystem of software compiled with GCC. – Pieter Wuille Oct 16 '18 at 3:33
5

Bitcoin Core is open source under an MIT license, and is the original software implementation of a Bitcoin full node, though there are others. Most nodes run Bitcoin Core, but don't have to. Bitcoin could be defined as a network of users that agree to the same consensus rules, which means they don't all have to run the same exact software.

The MIT License (MIT)

Copyright (c) 2009-2018 The Bitcoin Core developers
Copyright (c) 2009-2018 Bitcoin Developers

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy
of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal
in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights
to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell
copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is
furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in
all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR
IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY,
FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE
AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER
LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM,
OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN
THE SOFTWARE.

See COPYING

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