Interviews

Jon Southurst

How Codugh plans to onboard Bitcoin API devs with micropayments

Bitcoin needs a legion of small but creative developers to build its ecosystem. But how do we make sure they get paid enough to keep working? Codugh is solving this problem by building an “API marketplace,” making the most of Bitcoin SV’s capacity for micropayments.

Codugh (pronounced “coder” with an Australian accent) won the second Bitcoin Association Virtual Hackathon before a panel of expert judges at CoinGeek Seoul in October 2019. Founders Shashank Singhal and Andrew Snow pitched their idea with finalists BitQ&A and Hive, and were judged winners by popular vote.

Why APIs are important to Bitcoin

An API (application program interface) is a set of tools programmers use to interact with other software and retrieve information. For example, when you check for new content on Twitter, your app is making a call to Twitter’s API. It all happens in the background if you’re a consumer, but useful APIs are vital to anyone creating new software.

Codugh allows developers to create APIs and post them on its marketplace—if others use it, then the original coders will receive a micropayment every time that API is called. With Bitcoin, payments can happen any time the API call does.

Codugh is an example of a service that can only work on a functioning micropayments network that can handle on-demand, real-time payments. While API marketplaces have existed for years, most charge a monthly subscription fee or are simply directory lists of available APIs.

As Singhal and Snow described in their presentation, a major problem with developing new services for Bitcoin is paying developers. Most are small-time operations with a good idea, but who must work in their spare time until they secure backing. Many lack the resources to continue or even get that investor attention—and the result is, many potentially important projects are abandoned.

Competing in, and winning, the Hackathon

We spoke to Andrew Snow about what it meant to win the Hackathon, and Codugh’s roadmap for releasing a product that could onboard (and support) thousands of new Bitcoin developers.

At our core, we strive to utilize the intellectual surplus that exists in the global development community. Developers from anywhere in the world can use Codugh to finally profit from their time and effort. Enterprises and application developers can profit from the combined genius of developers globally, to build better applications and make better use of their resources.

He said Codugh disintermediates companies as the creators between market needs and software. By allowing developers to directly monetize their code per API call, developers enjoy unlimited upside from their work and the market enjoys more diverse solutions.

“Our vision is to enable every developer with unlimited opportunity, as long as they best serve the needs of a free market,” he said.

Codugh currently has a team of three, which Snow described as a mix of technical and business talent from backgrounds in software development, product management and growth marketing at large corporations and startups.

Winning the Hackathon in Seoul “can only be described as surreal,” he said. As two newcomers to blockchain development, the team only wanted to learn from their experience.

The overwhelming amount of encouragement and support we received during the hackathon allowed us to build a product we were truly proud of. In our opinion, the most important change since winning the hackathon has been perspective. We now know that our product provides real value to developers and have been given the opportunity to learn from some great minds. This allows us to build the best product we possibly can.

Codugh’s roadmap and pilot tester waitlist

Now, it’s up to Codugh’s team to take the working prototype they built in 48 hours and turn it into a viable product. The Bitcoin Association’s US$20,000 first prize (paid in BSV) will help pay costs, but there’s still a lot of work remaining.

In November 2019, Codugh will release its waitlist of potential users who expressed an interest, and interact with them to learn their needs and how best to serve them. In early 2020, they aim to provide those on the waitlist with an early working version of the marketplace, and select a handful of APIs to pilot their code on the platform.

The Codugh team members will personally onboard these earliest pilot testers. They’re taking this approach, Snow said, so that when the team publicly releases Codugh, there will be enough APIs on the platform to kickstart use.

And that name? As they read the CoinGeek Seoul conference program, many attendees were unsure at first how to pronounce it. Snow clarified:

Picking a name is often one of the hardest things for any project. During the hackathon, we were simply looking for any available dot-com domain when we discovered Codugh. In Australia, we pronounce ‘ugh’ as ‘uhh’, so when we found ‘Codugh’, we pronounced it as ‘cod-uhh’, which sounds similar to the word ‘coder’.

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