Prominent Bitcoin Core Developer Jonas Schnelli Quits — Reveals Alarming Reasons Behind His Decision To Step Down

Prominent Bitcoin Core Developer Jonas Schnelli Quits — Reveals Alarming Reasons Behind His Decision To Step Down

Key takeaways

  • Bitcoin Core maintainer and contributor Jonas Schnelli announces that he is stepping down.
  • He cites shifting interest and growing legal risks as his reason.
  • Bitcoin core developers have however faced recent financial hurdles that could have also contributed. 

The Bitcoin community is now coming to terms with the announcement by one of the network’s core maintainers and contributors, Jonas Schnelli, who announced that he was leaving the role to find a “new adventure.”

The Switzerland-based core developer made his intentions known yesterday via Twitter, stating that had “decided to step down as Bitcoin Core maintainer and contributor.” Schnelli, who first began working in the role in 2013, also noted that he was grateful to other developers he met on the field and for all the experience had taught him, adding that he was certainly leaving the work to be carried on by the “best hands possible.” 

As to why he had reached the decision to leave now, he said one of his reasons was that his attention had shifted. But the major major reason may have been the increasing legal risk attached with the role as he mentions, especially now that Bitcoin is a global financial force and the target of growing scrutiny from governments. The veteran Bitcoin contributor however states that he will continue engaging the community and has not ruled out a possible return even. 

“Sometimes, interests shift and you can’t do much about it. On top, I feel that the legal risks for Bitcoin developers are increasing year by year (which can be stressful). New contributors should join anonymously (it’s tricky),” he said.


In his years as a Bitcoin Core contributor and maintainer, Schnelli played a highly significant role in the Bitcoin community. He is considered as one of the most advanced people in Bitcoin, this is shown in the fact that he is also one of the few people in the world with commit access to the Bitcoin codebase. His work on Bitcoin was largely around making Bitcoin more user-friendly, hence his Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP 324) was also to address this issue. BIP 324 was first proposed in 2019 and is still in development, but it aims to improve Bitcoin’s peer-to-peer layer.

He was also recently in the news earlier this year for receiving a grant from Nasdaq-listed bitcoin miner Marathon Patent Group worth a total of $96,000, payable monthly in bitcoin (BTC) over one year. At the time Schnelli noted that he appreciated the grant but pointed out that he was in Bitcoin for the “ethos” and could be earning more as a developer for hire elsewhere. Notably, the firm’s move came shortly after rival Bitcoin mining outfit Bitmain decided to cut funding for Schnelli and Joao Barbosa, another core developer, who later also received a grant from Coinbase.

At the time, Bitmain, which is one of the world’s largest mining machine manufacturers, was one of the sole sponsors of the Bitcoin Core project that was responsible for maintaining the code base of the world’s largest cryptocurrency network. The arrangement which broke down due to misunderstandings between both sides has however been a boon for the Bitcoin community as several other sponsors have seemingly picked up the slack and kept the team financed.