Interview with Lighthouse Developer

A while back Mike Hearn, the main developer behind Lighthouse (also involved with bitcoinj) took the time to answer some questions about himself and his project in a brief interview. For those unfamiliar with the Lighthouse app, it’s basically an open source crowd funding platform that uses the smart contracts features of the blockchain.

As the official site explains, “when enough money has been pledged to reach the project’s goal it becomes possible to take the money out of the project backer’s Lighthouse wallets. Until that point is reached pledges can be undone at any time without the involvement of the project creator.”, a familiar approach for users of other crowd funding platforms.

Lighthouse took off thanks to the reward offered by Olivier Janssens, who pledged $100,000 to whichever developer could create a platform that could take over the functions of the Bitcoin Foundation: a democratic and transparent platform where the community could “vote” with its money for which projects they wanted to support.

Q: Did the reward offered by Olivier Janssens motivate you to start working on Lighthouse or was it an idea you already had in mind?

A: I was already working on the project before the proposal and was planning on financing it using the application itself, but in the end it wasn’t necessary.

Q: What do you think about some of the other projects that were in the running such as Eris (Project Douglas) or Ethereum?

A: I think they were too ambitious and bit off more than they could chew. I’m waiting until their final release in order to judge their projects accordingly.

Q: Do you see Lighthouse as a real alternative to the Bitcoin Foundation or is it more of a tool to be used by another potential entity?

A: The Bitcoin Foundation previously financed the development of Bitcoin Core, which is a complicated endeavor due to internal politics. I think Lighthouse has great potential when it comes to financing these sort of endeavors.

Q: Do you think Janssens was spot-on on his last public comments about the Bitcoin Foundation?

A: The Foundation itself has already made their public replies about this topic. Yes, they’re in financial trouble and today, Core developers are being financed by MIT.

Q: How many projects are being currently financed through Lighthouse?

A: I don’t have a specific figure but I’d say somewhere around 80 or 100, although only a few have reached their financing goals.

Q: Are you planning to integrate support for other crypto currencies aside from Bitcoin?

A: Not at the moment, I’m not interested in altcoins.

Q: What’s been the biggest challenge about developing Lighthouse?

A: The complexity of the code. I’d say P2P applications are very complicated from a technical standpoint.

Q: How can Lighthouse fans contribute to its development?

A: Helping out with translations is a good idea. Anyone can join the team at Transifex. You can also get the word out, come up with ideas or write code if you know how. Right now I’m looking for graphic artists who can contribute to different projects.


Currently the Lighthouse app is still in beta and available from its official site for Windows, Mac and Linux systems.

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