Blockchain tech and the open-source movement complement each other. Bitcoin is open-source. Ethereum is open-source. And a huge number of DeFi projects are open-source too. Open source became almost like an ‘eco-friendly’ label on the product – people tend to trust it more. Even if you have no programming skills when choosing between two similar products, most likely you would rather go for the one with an open code. Just to stay on the safer side.
But does it really mean that open-source products are better than close-sourced?
Wisdom of Crowds
It is a known fact that developers who work on the same team can fail to notice certain mistakes that will be obvious to people who are taking a fresh look. One of the undeniable benefits of an open-source product is that it allows communities to be built around it. Independent developers can help find flaws in the code and protect the users. As many blockchain projects are often focused on personal finance, serious flaws may turn out to be devastating.
Does it increase the chances that the product will be more secure? It certainly does. But does this guarantee a better product? Not necessarily. The performance of the product doesn’t solely depend on how perfect and flawless its code is. Success is always complex and it depends on many factors such as a joint effort from team members, funding, research, development strategies, market orientation, the efforts of top management, and more. Technology is only one of the components.
Open Source for Transparency
Another advantage of open-source products is their transparency and ability to audit them. When using closed-source products, consumers literally take a leap of faith. They hope that the dev team knows what they are doing and prioritize the customers’ best interests.
When the code is open, customers theoretically can check the code and reassure themselves that the product is legit. Although in reality, most end-users don’t know how to read code, they can at least listen to expert opinions.
Transparency and trust are the key concepts of blockchain technology. Transparency makes the product more reliable, but it doesn’t automatically make it outstanding.
Showing Off Your Team
When a commercial product opens its code, it subjects its team to the public gaze. But even if the code can tell a lot about the level and potential of the developers who created it, it can hardly say anything about the product’s odds of success.
The Bottom Line
Open-source products have a number of benefits like advanced security, transparency, more efficient bug fixes, and dialog with customers and fellow developers.
Open-source demonstrates the level of developers and challenges them to be better. This way of development makes the product more reliable and increases the level of trust, but does not guarantee that the end-product will be better than its closed-source rivals.