ABOUT THE ARTIST
Nicolas Dorier is a French Bitcoin Dev, now based in Japan, who felt so betrayed & angry about BitPay’s malign actions during the 2017 Blocksize War that he coded an Open-Source alternative from scratch. It’s grown to become keystone FOSS (Free Open Source Software) that exemplifies, perhaps more than any project, the core ideological values of Bitcoin.
BTCPay allows you to receive payments in Bitcoin (on-chain & via the Lightning) with no fees or middlemen. It is THE open-source payment processor for sovereign businesses & individuals. Nicolas coded V0.1 in August 2017 on personal conviction stemming from his infamous fallout with, and tweet to BitPay.
"This is lies. My trust in you is broken. I will make you obselete."
It provided a FOSS alternative to previously dominant BitPay’s closed source, 3rd party Bitcoin payment processor. BitPay controversially acted against the Bitcoin community in the 2017 B2X Blocksize War. Businesses like BitPay were looking to change and fork Bitcoin in a way that was considered highly detrimental for it’s decentralised future. They betrayed users by glossing over foundational ideological concerns, subverting the truth & encouraging them to upgrade to the B2X fork.
"When I saw BitPay try to change Bitcoin in a negative way & lying to merchants, I felt betrayed & angry."
Before Bitcoin, Nicolas had very little understanding of money beyond reading Robert Kiyosaki’s ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad.’ book. He finds it frustrating that people see the misery & inequality in the world, become angry & polarised on issues but never really explore the underlying reasons for this inequality.
"You can suggest to them that the system is corrupt because of how money is produced but they’re so conditioned to look at politics for answers."
Nicolas initially followed a more structured career path to become a Microsoft Certified Trainer, teaching dotNet Development. It was a comfortable position but when he discovered Bitcoin he quickly realised that working in anything else, could never provide the same ‘raison d’etre’ or Ikigai.
"Seeing people lose Bitcoin in MtGox, but still believe in it, while I was serially abused by banks – that drove me deeper into Bitcoin!"
He left his DotNet training jobs and moved to Japan. In Tokyo he became a rated LocalBitcoins trader and supported his Dev work, to a large extent through that. There was very little regulation at the time in Japan. It was a very free environment. Since the 2017 ICO boom, Japan’s Bitcoin regulation and taxation has become considerably less favourable however.
"Hodlers won’t think twice about moving to a country with favourable BTC tax laws."
WHY & HOW BTCPAY
Payments on-chain or via LN through BTCPay go directly to your wallet with no address re-use, increasing privacy & security. Most other processors hold your funds, but with BTCPay, you literally become your own bank.
There are various installation & deployment options depending what best suits your needs, from VPS to self hosted. Check out below and in the Deployment FAQ on BTCPayServer.org. There’s excellent instructional video guides on the BTCPay YouTube Channel or website.
"Depending where you come from, setting up BTCPay can be easier than a bank account."
BTCPay solves problems for merchants, content creators, LN users & charities. You can use BTCPay even if you don’t have an e-commerce store – be the payment processor for your friends or local market or accept donations. If you don’t have a store, but want one, read the ‘How to Create an Online Store’ Guide to build it from scratch.
BTCPay grew organically with merchants gradually seeing the benefits and adopting the software. Halong Mining & Coincards were among the first very high volume users, and brought tons of bug and feature requests for him. Much of these early day were spent filling the gaps between Bitpay and BTCPay.
"Thanks to the early users & devs & flow of people who care about BTCPay."
Rockstardev & Pavlenex were the first other Devs to get involved, bridging gaps in Nicolas’ CSS/HTML/JS as well as implementing major contributions like LND support. He feels BTCPay wouldn’t have gone far without this early merchant and dev support. Not being a merchant himself, it was difficult for him to ‘taste my own food’ as he could with his other projects NBXplorer & Nbitcoin.
FUNDING & WORK
The BTCPayServer Foundation was set up to formally support development of this cornerstone project. They were grateful first beneficiaries of Jack Dorsey’s, Square Crypto Grant in September 2019. BTCPay started as a side project but it’s grown far beyond that now and despite receiving support from the community, Nicolas still works for and has obligations of other companies : Metaco & DG Lab in Japan. They’re highly encouraging of his BTCPay commitments however and give him the breathing room for this Open Source work.
"My work with Metaco & DG Lab is cool enough & always related to Bitcoin. If not, I get grumpy & they get scared."
BTCPay is so immensely popular because it offers a direct way for merchants & charities to receive Bitcoin, improving privacy for both parties. Being FOSS, it gives an excellent opportunity for developers to build & integrate on top of BTCPay.
"What’s more important than starting a project is having a flow of people who really care about it."
In a way, it’s not just his baby anymore. It’s become a major community project and as more people contribute, he’s keen to open up development & ensure he doesn’t become a bottleneck. His role has shifted a little towards stewardship. He’s just as committed to this however. As BTCPay grows, Nicolas is keen to spend less time on Twitter, growing the community and focus on what he does best : coding, supporting other Devs & improving UX.
DEPLOYMENTS & PRIVACY
Running BTCPay on a VPS like Lunanode is a great solution with a simple, minimal click install & setup process for non-technical users. Alternatively, self hosted install options include RaspiBlitz, GetUmbrel & MyNode & Nodl.it. Nicolas is working on another option called Hack0, launching Jan/Feb 2021. Self hosted installations like these give merchants improved autonomy and self sovereignty. RaspiBlitz also provides an IP2TOR solution that allows a Tor hidden BTCPay installation to be integrated into a standard webstore like WooCommerce . . . sweet 😉
"PayJoin is very powerful. It creates doubt for ChainAnalysis, even for those who don’t use it."
Kukks was the Dev who initially started integrating PayJoin into BTCPayServer. It’s been a more complicated process than expected but provides a significant privacy improvement for merchants & buyers.
CYPHERPUNKS WRITE CODE
His focus in terms of BTCPay is to keep it open and encourage people to build on top of it – “for it NOT to be a walled garden”. In terms of his thought on the future for Bitcoin and the wider world he comes across as a true optimist. He’s a doer, a builder . . . “Cypherpunks write Code” I guess 😉
"In the long term, Bitcoiners will win. I’m confident about this. I don’t think they will be able to regulate effectively due to arbitrage opportunies for us."
Try the software, spread the word and become a local champion/consultant for BTCPay like @brainharrington has done through the Orange County Bitcoin Network in Carlifornia (@ocbtcn). Encourage and support local businesses to integrate BTCPay as a POS option. We can’t think of a more pragmatic and positive path than this. Nicolas is doing Satoshis work, support him with a donation. He loves buying beer with sats too.