Joining Blockstream and Making Bitcoin Great Again

Joining Blockstream and Making Bitcoin Great Again

Samson Mow

I first learned about Bitcoin from a TechCrunch article in 2013 that piqued my attention. It sounded very compelling and the concept of a digital currency without anyone controlling it was practically unheard of. I tried my hand at mining but didn’t get very far with my laptop. After joining BTCC and getting pulled into the scaling debate, I really learned what Bitcoin was and why it’s so important. Bitcoin changes how money works and empowers ordinary people to control their own financial destiny. The key to this transformative property of Bitcoin is decentralization. I believe ground-breaking technologies like Bitcoin and its blockchain, can really make the world a better place by making financial systems more transparent, more fair, and more inherently trustable.

That said, I’m very excited to take the next step in my career and announce that I’ve joined Blockstream as Chief Strategy Officer. In my new role, initially I’ll be focusing on the launch and marketing of our enterprise and consumer products, establishing Blockstream offices in China and Canada, and kicking off our mining participation to support merge mining R&D. It’s important for companies in the ecosystem to get involved in Bitcoin mining – even at a basic level like we will – to help contribute to making the Bitcoin hashrate distributed around the world. Additionally, I plan to continue supporting Bitcoin community events and initiatives.

One of the main reasons I joined the Blockstream team is because the core values and mission of Blockstream align strongly with my own: protecting permissionless innovation, empowering through trustable and secure financial technology, and transforming the trust paradigm for the betterment of society. These are inspirational goals that have the potential to change a world that is often fraught with systemic and counterparty risks. Blockstream is building a platform and systems where those risks can be eliminated, and where the end-users of the system do not need to trust Blockstream or anyone else to verify that the systems built using the technology can be trusted. In addition, the Blockstream team prioritizes security, decentralization, and performance when approaching their work, which I find both pragmatic and of utmost importance.

I’ve known many people on the Blockstream team for a long time, having interacted at conferences, meetings, and other industry efforts. Each time, I was impressed with their brilliance, passion, and authenticity. For me, joining Blockstream is a chance to contribute my skills and expertise while working alongside some of the best and brightest in the digital currency and blockchain space. Adam Back, CEO of Blockstream, is a legend in his own right, having created Hashcash and proof-of-work, which was cited in the Satoshi whitepaper. We also have CTO Greg Maxwell, a truly gifted and extraordinary individual, who tirelessly explains technical details to the vibrant online community. I know that the people at Blockstream are people I will enjoy working alongside especially through the highs and lows happening in our industry as Bitcoin, blockchain technologies, and secure systems gain even more attention and relevance in the world than ever before.

Beyond the chance to work with an exceptional team with a shared mission, what also excites me about my role at Blockstream is taking part in “walking the walk” - taking action aligned with advancing Bitcoin and other cryptographic innovations in a transparent, secure, open source way. For example, Blockstream is the first company in our industry to offer its innovations under the Defensive Patent License (DPL) and has committed to a patent pledge to all users of its software, making the technology covered by Blockstream’s patents freely available for use without having to pay a licensing fee or risk litigation. Actions like these ensure the technologies that enable the realization of Blockstream’s mission will always be open and accessible. This is a Blockstream initiative that I want to focus on supporting and strengthening: evaluating if the current patent strategy needs to be adjusted given issues around patents internationally, and looking at what can be done to defend against land grabs for blockchain-related intellectual property.

Lastly, supporting Bitcoin development and the developers is a central part of Blockstream’s raison d’etre, something I have made efforts to do while at BTCC, and something I will be empowered to continue at Blockstream. It’s important that Bitcoin development remain decentralized, and that developers are free to act independently and in the best interests of all users. At Blockstream, everyone on the team has an independent voice, and may even disagree with each other publicly or make competing proposals at times. I’ll continue to be an independent voice myself, and contribute and work together with the community to improve Bitcoin, and on occasion find interesting ways to reiterate my beliefs and intentions with those who disagree. :)

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