Gavin Andresen is one of the proper names of the early age of Bitcoin. Although Satoshi Nakamoto first relied on cypherpunnks, this developer's contribution, of Australian origin, was crucial to enhancing cryptomoeda by working directly on the correction and reconstruction of Bitcoin's main client code.
Andresen became the first maintainer of the Bitcoin repository, obtaining that responsibility directly from Nakamoto. However, despite the fact that his career in Bitcoin was so relevant, his personal interests and differences with the other developers of Bitcoin Core eventually relegated him to the post and generating a great distrust in the bitcoiner community.
In this special work of CriptoNoticias we will give you details about the life of Andresen, his first steps in the professional field, as well as his relation, work and subsequent distance of Bitcoin.
Biography and first works
His real name is Gavin Bells and he was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1966. At the age of 5, his family moved to the United States, growing up in cities like Anchorage or Seattle. In 1984, he joined the university and majored in computer science in 1988, after completing his studies at Princeton University.
His early work focused on software development, part of a Californian company called Silicon Graphics Inc., where he worked until 1996. There he focused on 3D graphics, especially Open Inventor and VRML. His experience with the latter allowed him to write the 2.0 specification and a reference manual for his use.
Andresen also worked on projects dedicated to the creation of video games, tools for digital loans, as well as specialized search engines in computer literature.
The first time the developer learned about Bitcoin was in May 2010. This fact was definitive for him to be actively involved in the dissemination of this crypto. In June 2010, he bought his first 10,000 BTC for about $ 50.
Andresen and Bitcoin
In addition, his first bitcoins helped him create the first tap of the ecosystem, called ClearCoin. The Australian used the 10,000 BTC to reward each visitor to this site, which was online through 2012. At first, the reward for each visitor was 5 BTC, which was reduced as Bitcoin gained popularity.
In addition, in December 2010, he introduced ClearCoin, a bitcoins trading platform. The service used a custody scheme, which allowed it to offer greater security on exchange operations in the still incipient Cryptomannan market.
Andresen also began to become more actively involved with Bitcoin's technical development. In fact, he started to check Satoshi's client code and send his results directly to Nakamoto, with whom he kept the communication via email for a while.
This was explained in an interview with the Huffington Post in 2013:
It all started when I started sending code to Satoshi to improve the system. Eventually he ended up relying on me until one day he put me in the lead. Since then, he has distanced himself until he disappears completely.
Gavin Andresen, developer
When, in December 2010, Nakamoto announced that he would leave Bitcoin, Andresen became the leading developer of Bitcoin Core, a leading maintainer GitHub and administrator of Web site bitcoin.org "With the blessing of Satoshi, and with great reluctance, I will start to make a more active management of the project for Bitcoin," he said days after the event.
As responsible for the development of Bitcoin, Andresen was the main promoter of the creation of the Bitcoin Foundation, an idea he proposed in 2011. The objective was to create a non-profit organization that would allow the development of Bitcoin to be financed, as well as to collaborate with its dissemination at the global level. Together with Roger Ver, Charlie Shrem, Pedro Vessenes, Mark Karpelès and Patrick Murck, Andresen founded the Bitcoin Foundation in 2012.
The Australian remained in the position of leading developer until 2014. According to the contributors page of Bitcoin's GitHub repository, the developer added 64,000 lines of code, eliminating another 76,000 lines. He was also the creator of a Bitcoin test network as well as several proposals to improve Bitcoin (BIP), many of which were accepted as part of the definitive customer code.
However, his departure from the Bitcoin Core team was controversial, marking a major gap both with the rest of the developers and with the project itself.
Prior to his departure from the Bitcoin Core team, Andresen had already made some controversial moves. In addition to its extremely aggressive approach to customer code development, the Australian came to attend an event organized by the Intelligence Agency (CIA).
My talk at the CIA was good today. The hallways are very large and full of interesting things.
– Gavin Andresen (@gavinandresen) June 14, 2011
With only a few months in the main position of Bitcoin Core, the developer participated in an emerging technologies conference organized by the CIA.
For him, this invitation reflected the government's interest in Bitcoin and considered it an opportunity to demonstrate that Nakamoto's key crypto-targeting goals are consistent with government goals. Many bitcoiners considered this an affront, because the proximity of the US government to the main responsible for the development of Bitcoin generated concern.
In addition, despite the fact that in the early years it remained very active, the rest of the Bitcoin Core developers questioned its role as the main maintainer of the repository, due to the fact that each time they did less work for the development of their code .
But the worst thing was that Andresen began to be impatient to implement larger blocks in the Bitcoin blockchain. In fact, Andresen allegedly started bypassing Bitcoin Core communication channels to try to add this modification as quickly as possible to the client code.
The Australian wanted to take advantage of his position of responsibility and influence to enforce this change, even as the rest of the Bitcoin Core developers remained reluctant to make such a major change. Andresen presented his ideas through his blog, directly to the public, without discussing the idea with the rest of the team.
What's worse is that he started selling this proposal to increase the block size limit for companies like Coinbase, BitPay, Blockchain or Xapo, who supported the proposal because of the potential benefits they could have by adding more transactions to the blocks. The version did not have the relevant revisions and, despite having formally proposed it through BPI 101, such a major change required additional auditing.
Andresen was replaced in command of Bitcoin Core in February 2016 by Wladimir van der Laan, who holds the position to date.
It must be said that Andresen came to support Craig Wright in one of his first attempts to prove that he was Satoshi Nakamoto, although he later portrayed this statement. In May 2016, through a post on his blog, Andresen assured that the Australian was also the true genius behind the pseudonym of the creator of Bitcoin.
By not having enough evidence and having been planted by Wright on the day he was to prove his true identity, Andresen publicly stood up to support Wright's statement.
Although Andresen was one of the first developers of Bitcoin and helped the protocol to reach maturity with its reviews and collaboration, its distance from the project was radical. The Australian supported the creation of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), ensuring that it is the only project that follows the true ideal of the system created by Satoshi, setting a definite adverse position to Bitcoin Core and the growth of BTC.