Lead Bitcoin (BTC) developer for 8 years, Wladimir van der Laan steps down

Bitcoin’s lead developer and maintainer, Wladimir van der Laan, has confirmed that he is retiring. He was the second successor to Satoshi Nakamoto and one of the very few in the world to have full access to the Bitcoin Core GitHub.

Longest-Lived Bitcoin Developer Steps Down

Throughout the history of Bitcoin (BTC), Wladimir van der Laan is certainly one of the most important names and paradoxically one of the least known. Initially a contributor, then quickly became lead developerhe played a major role in building Bitcoin as we know it today.

And for good reason, it is one of the only people in the world to have access to the GitHub code of Bitcoin Core, the reference software implementation of Bitcoin. Indeed, although developed in a decentralized, free and open source way, this software has of a certain hierarchy and a Main Maintainer.

Originally, this role was filled by Satoshi Nakamoto himself. He sold it in February 2011 to Gavin Andresen, before disappearing. He finally appointed Wladimir van der Laan to succeed him on April 7, 2014. This therefore makes him the longest-lived lead developer of Bitcoin, and the second successor of Satoshi Nakamoto.

After eight years of dedicating his time and energy to the proper development of the Bitcoin network, it seems that van der Laan has decided to step down. For the time being, no successor has been appointed, although Pieter Wuille is the most apt to take up the torch.

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Several reasons explain his choice

In January 2021, Wladimir van der Laan had already announced that he wanted to step down from his duties. After holding the helm of Bitcoin for more years than anyoneincluding Satoshi Nakamoto, he expressed concerns about being “a centralized bottleneck” for the development of bitcoin.

It was only last week, in response to several rounds of tweets, that he validated the news. Since then, his biography on the blue bird social network has simply been changed to ex: Bitcoin Core”. Through his messages, van der Laan gave several indications on the motivations of his departure.

First, he mentioned Professional exhaustion as one of the main reasons. The Bitcoin community has often been considered difficult, see toxic “, especially on social networks like Twitter. For example, van der Laan pointed to the psychological impact recurring criticism of errors that are several years old.

Moreover, Bitcoin developers are essentially volunteer workers. Some may receive charitable donations businesses or bitcoin holders to subsidize their work. However, even with these donations, most network developers are underpaid compared to their counterparts working in other industries.

It is also this violence of social networks which had motivated van der Laan to maintain a semblance of anonymity, divulging very little information about his personal life. He clarified that in the future, he would like to move away from the cryptocurrency sectorbelieving that they have already brought enough to this industry.

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What will happen now?

For now, van der Laan has yet to name a successor. According to the hierarchy set up by Satoshi Nakamoto, it is absolutely necessary to have someone in the position of Main Maintainer of Bitcoin Core. In the current order, Pieter Wuille could take over.

However, it is quite possible that van der Laan decides to designate no successor to voluntarily terminate his function. Through this, he would like to achieve his latest action in support of bitcoinmaking it even more decentralized than it is now.

Indeed, van der Laan is the only one to hold the administrative key giving access to Bitcoin Core’s GitHub. Its ultimate objective would be to make access to this key completely decentralized, to such an extent that Bitcoin no longer needs a Main Maintainer.

When first announced in January 2021, it had already published a plan to achieve this goal. This notably included the possibility of decentralizing development tasks and above all of no longer depending on GitHub to host the code.

Always is it that after eight years in this positionthe bitcoin community warmly thanked Wladimir van der Laan for his involvement, his time, his energy and the marvelous work he provided to continue to bring Satoshi Nakamoto’s creation to life and evolve.

👉 To go further – Bitcoin: can cryptocurrency work without the Internet?

Sources: Protos, Laanwj’s blog

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