This has been a very busy week for Blockstream. We launched new products and technologies to continue our mission of advancing the digital currency and blockchain space. With those announcements behind us now, we have some bittersweet news to share. Greg Maxwell has left his role as Blockstream’s CTO to focus on Bitcoin development, especially improved cryptography, protocols and other privacy and security technologies. While we will miss having him around on a daily basis, we are also happy that he will be able to focus more of his attention on the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Here is an excerpt from his departure email.
Back when we founded the company I was concerned that there was significant underinvestment in Bitcoin technology: Bitcoin had a healthy technical community just as it does today, but lacked the kind of industry support that projects like Linux have. Without sustained financial support, some kinds of bigger projects seemed really hard to pull off with developers needing to share time between non-bitcoin employment, their families, and their other interests. For the most part, back then early Bitcoin companies weren’t investing in public technology, at least not effectively.
We hoped that Blockstream could help act as an anchor of support for technology development, and in doing so help grow the community. I think that has been a big success. The Bitcoin industry has matured a lot and today Bitcoin Core gets significant regular contributions from many organizations (including Chaincode, DCI, Blockstream, Coinbase, Bitmain, Blockchain, and probably others that I am forgetting or not even aware of) and a volunteer community much larger and more active than it has ever been before. From what I’ve been told Blockstream plans to continue to contribute to awesome technology in Bitcoin–as demonstrated by their Lightning webstore this week–but if they didn’t, that wouldn’t be a problem for Bitcoin.
As a co-founder of Blockstream, Greg has been working to build Blockstream’s foundation since 2014. To name just a few of his contributions to Blockstream and the greater ecosystem: sidechains, strong federations, confidential transactions, confidential assets, and most recently, his brainchild, Blockstream Satellite.
Greg’s responsibilities as CTO will be shared by Andrew Poelstra, Director of Research, and our CEO, Dr. Adam Back, who will be taking a more active role in our engineering efforts.
We wish Greg all the best and thank him for his many contributions to Blockstream over the years. As our commitments to Bitcoin and open-source software development are unchanged, we will continue to collaborate closely with Greg on Bitcoin protocol development and also to expand the capabilities of Blockstream Satellite.