From “Hello World” to Bitcoin Core

Rajarshi Maitra
12 min readJun 15, 2020

Recently my first pull request to Bitcoin Core got merged. It wasn’t any critical change to the protocol but was a small added functionality to the testing framework, which can occasionally be useful for the developers. This completed one of my personal milestones since I started my journey with Bitcoin, on 26th October 2017. I succinctly remember the date and even the exact time when all of it started, simply because of the impact it had on me. Since then my journey down the rabbit-hole has led me into explorations of subjects that were never part of any conceivable career path of mine. And along the way, met some amazing people and probably some friends for life.

As I come from a non-CS background everything related to Bitcoin was brand new to me. Concepts, ideas, and terminologies popped up everywhere that I have never heard before. The first few weeks were overwhelming as I was discovering the intersection of multiple disciplines starting from, computer science, mathematics to economics, and politics. The cognitive dissonance was hard, and the inevitable realization of what money is hit me even harder. I knew I stepped onto something big and wanted to go as deeper as possible. Being a dev was never part of the plan as I wasn’t looking for career opportunities. But the path of curiosity is serendipitous, and honestly, that’s the fun of it. The only reason I started learning to code was to have a more intimate understanding of Bitcoin. And it took 2 years 5 months from writing my first “Hello World” program in Python, to get my first PR merged in Core.

I shared my excitement of that day in a tweet and to my surprise, many people approached me saying its a source of inspiration for many others who are at different stages of the same journey.

In this article, I will try to articulate my experience of the journey in the hope that it might be useful for people looking towards a similar path and wondering if the effort is worth it. Tl;dr, It is.

I like to describe it as a “hike up the Bitcoin hill”, as opposed to the more common…

Rajarshi Maitra

Independent Bitcoin and Lightning Network observere learner and educator.