Gloria Zhao becomes the first female Bitcoin code maintainer

Gloria Zhao becomes the first female Bitcoin code maintainer

Key facts:
  • With the addition of Zhao there are 6 Bitcoin maintainers, but many more contributors.

  • The developer specializes in fee replacement policies and the Bitcoin mempool.

Gloria Zhao is the first woman to serve as the maintainer of the Bitcoin code. Zhao now has special permissions to execute changes to the Bitcoin code, after Peter Wuille requested that his be removed days ago.

Through a integration request (either pull request) on GitHub, the new status of Gloria Zhao (glozow in networks) in Bitcoin Core was specified. The request reads “add glozow to trusted keys #25524”.

It is worth noting that the permits acquired by Zhao are partials, like those of other Bitcoin Core maintainers. In this specific case, you can see how his PGP key was added to the trust file, merged with the permissions of fellow maintainer Marco Falke.

Currently, the main maintainers of the Bitcoin Core code are Wladimir van der Laan (who was the main maintainer), Marco Falke (QA and testing maintainer), Hennadii Stepanov (who maintains the GUI), Andrew Chow (wallet maintainer) and Michael Ford, who is the main maintainer.

Before the addition of Zhao, there have been others 16 maintainers of the code, including Satoshi Nakamotothe creator of Bitcoin. All have identified as male, with the exception of Nakamoto himself, whose identity and gender are unknown.

Gloria Zhao becomes the first female Bitcoin code maintainer
The Bitcoin Core code repository is very active from month to month, with contributions from many authors. Source: Github.

A Bitcoin Core Bitcoin Maintainer has permissions to make changes (merge) to the code repository and is responsible for adding or removing specifications from the code base, in accordance with the contributions that, together with other developers, are proposed, discussed and accepted in the working group.

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Gloria Zhao becomes the first female Bitcoin code maintainer

Gloria Zhao has specialized in the policies on commission replacement or RBF, which is an action that allows to replace a transaction by increasing the commission paid to the miners. It also plays an important role in developing improvements to the Bitcoin mempool, which is the temporary memory where transactions awaiting confirmation are stored.

Zhao’s addition came on the same day that Peter Wuille requested to have his maintainer permissions removed: “As it happens, I’m not doing much maintenance, so it’s time to cancel my permissions,” he said. Wuille is one of the developers who has contributed the most to improving Bitcoin, with advancements such as BIP 32, Segwit, Taproot/Scnorr.

Mixed Opinions Among Bitcoin Developers About Adding Zhao

A contributor identified as 1440000bytes expressed doubts about this addition: “I didn’t have a strong opinion until yesterday and I still think she’s a good encoder and proofreader. However, this integration request grants commit access, which I’m not sure about.”

He added that he considers that the maintenance of Bitcoin Core would be centralized, since “there will be 7 maintainers and 3 of them financed by Brink”. Something that corroborates another developer identified as 0xB10C.

Brink is a non-profit association dedicated to Bitcoin research and development, which for two years has been awarding scholarships to Bitcoin computer scientists and programmers. Gloria Zhao herself participates in this program known as Brink Fellow, in addition to having won other scholarships for her work, as we reported in CriptoNoticias.

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Other Bitcoin developers expressed their excitement at Gloria Zhao’s addition to the group of core maintainers of Bitcoin Core. Among them, developer and maintainer Andrew Chow, who commented: «I think Glozow [Gloria Zhao] she is a good fit for maintenance and her mempool and policy experience makes those areas a good focus for her.”

Michael Folkson, another developer, added that the request had been confirmed by at least 13 people, including principal maintainer Michael Ford and Wladimir van der Laan.

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