There’s a common (mis)conception that teachers enjoy experiencing the moment when their students surpass their own abilities and supplant them as the mentor. Even with a few educators in our midst, we cannot verify whether or not this is true. However…

Eight years ago, David Molnar was a software developer working at what could be considered a typical 9-5 job. Now, he’s the CTO of one of the best established privacy-centric software wallets in the Bitcoin ecosystem. This journey all started when nopara73 came to intern at his company.

Long before Wasabi Wallet’s official existence, David was nopara73’s mentor, teaching him C# while he interned at his company. They maintained this relationship for two years until nopara73 left on a journey across Asia. Nopara73 would continuously check in with David to update him on his work and adventures while David would provide remote work opportunities for nopara73. He admitted that nopara73 continuously tried to persuade him to work with him prior to Wasabi Wallet’s official release, but he always turned down the offer since he was still heavily invested at his previous workplace. Eventually, David realized he had been working at this company for 10+ years and had gotten to the last rung of its corporate ladder. It was time for a change.

After mentioning his plans to leave within a year to nopara73, David was presented with yet another job offer as a senior developer at Wasabi Wallet. He admits that he knew nothing about Bitcoin or how he would be able to program its software at the time, but he accepted the offer under the mindset that:

If nopara73 could show me the code, sooner or later I’d figure it out.

It was at that moment that the student became the master.

Nopara73’s offer was exactly what David was looking for as it allowed him to work with fresh, high-end technology while using the newest software and language specifications. Although Bitcoin was relatively unknown, the potential of its development made the proposition even more exciting.

Nopara73 and David

David says he enjoys being pushed to his limits and with Wasabi Wallet, he got just that. In their first month of being reunited, David travelled to Thailand to work alongside nopara73. As idyllic as this sounds, he wasn’t exactly lounging on the beach. Instead, he had to now learn about Bitcoin while learning to program its software using the Mac operating system after working on a Windows PC for 10 years.

“I was literally coding on Mac, not just running the software. It was a pain. I had a Hungarian keyboard with no notations so it was annoying trying to figure out which button does what. But it had to be done, so I learnt and got used to it.”
~ David Molnar

There was a silver lining: “Nicholas Dorier’s N bitcoin made everything convenient because I could use the programming language I’m most familiar with: C#.”

However, the challenges would keep coming as David would soon find out. By March 2019, a mere four months after joining the Wasabi Wallet team, he was selected to speak on behalf of Wasabi Wallet at the 2019 MIT Bitcoin Expo.

Nervous and excited for another adventure, David practised for weeks rewriting his presentation on Wasabi Wallet and CoinJoin many times while watching countless Andreas Antonoupolous videos in preparation for the 20-minute presentation. Now, with numerous presentations under his belt, the nerves have gone but what remains is the elation that comes with being recognized and supported by his peers for the work and dedication that he and his team continuously put into Wasabi Wallet. Undoubtedly, an inspiration to continue working:

“We keep updating ourselves and are creating what is required. We are not just settling because it works. We are always refactoring ourselves. I’ve noticed that I have been changing from time to time. I’m trying to adapt to the new requirements”

This constant evolution is due to the Wasabikas’ work ethic:

“Everyone who works here is engaged with software development, you don’t need to push people to work because they like to work. You are the only one responsible for your own involvement and this is sometimes a good thing because you have the freedom to do anything you want. Of course, anything productive!”
~ David Molnar

Testing Contribution Game

At Wasabi, David introduced Testing Contribution Games in an effort to keep users and developers close enough to receive constructive feedback from the other. He acknowledges that this encourages community involvement and has collectively improved the software’s stability and usability while ensuring that users enjoy the software:

“When you are testing your own products, you automatically have some bias and there’s no way to detach yourself from this because you know how it works and will use it based on your knowledge. You will avoid many test cases and you won’t see some minor, or large issues with the software or the user interface. You won’t do such a complex sweep through of the software. It’s very important that you have fresh eyes and a clean mind to inspect the software for the first time and this can only be done by involving the community.”
~ David Molnar

Lurking Wife Mode

Another one of his innovations at Wasabi Wallet caused quite a bit of controversy. Not for its functionality, but its name: The Lurking Wife Mode. This is a Wasabi Wallet feature that hides sensitive and critical information from physical observers by changing the information to hashtags with one click:

“When we implemented this feature, Nopara73 and I were thinking about the name. I came up with three ideas and one of them was Lurking Wife Mode.

At the time, we had a mysterious loss of funds case. Everyone on the team was trying to figure out how some part of the funds was taken from the wallet. After a week of fruitless investigations, it turned out that the user’s wife sent those funds to an exchange.

It started as a joke, but later it was surprising how much attention we got for how sexist this was. We didn’t think that it would blow up. We never got as much interaction on Twitter for writing code or anything else, but this, this was surprising.
~ David Molnar

The feature has since been standardized and integrated into Bitcoin Core, though the name has been changed to Privacy Mode. David still maintains a level of pride for its creation.

Becoming CTO

Becoming the CTO of zkSNACKs after nopara73 decided to step down was another challenge that David accepted. He later understood nopara’s decision after realizing the complexity of the workload. “There were daily problems, not regarding the code but everything else, and they take you away from the core tasks that you value and enjoy doing.”

He has since found a method to the madness:

“It’s not about what to do, but what not to do, there are so many ways to go about it. I can find 100 tasks right now that I can work on but you have to find the one that serves the company’s goals the most. So you have to say no to the 99. Find what not to do instead of what to do.”
~ David Molnar

He also maintains a unique perspective in regards to his responsibilities in general:

“Sometimes I feel like MacGyver when there is a problem,someone is missing from a specific place, and I can jump in. I like to do this because it’s a new challenge, something to learn. I like adapting and figuring out how to do things in a specific role. Sometimes my solutions are like MacGyver’s solutions, but in the end, it works.”
~ David Molnar

Undoubtedly, David has come a long way from being introduced to Bitcoin by his former intern, and what a journey it continues to be. He believes that Bitcoin is revolutionary, Wasabi Wallet is a part of the revolution and he wants everyone to take part:

“Bitcoin is an open space and I would like to invite everyone to join. I’m not only talking about buying Bitcoin but developing, creating…feel free to do anything because that’s what Bitcoin is about. Contribute to open-source projects – it’s a very exhilarating feeling.”
~ David Molnar