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Gavin Andresen and Other Core Developers Join MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative

Op-ed - Gavin Andresen and Other Core Developers Join MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative

Lead Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen, chief scientist of the Bitcoin Foundation, has announced that he and other Bitcoin Core developers are joining the MIT Digital Currency Initiative.

A few days ago Bitcoin Magazinereported that the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab announced the launch of a Digital Currency Initiative, to be directed by former White House senior adviser for mobile and data innovation Brian Forde.

The MIT Digital Currency Initiative will integrate researchers across the institute and leading experts at other universities around the world to address some of the most critical challenges to creating a safe, stable and secure digital currency.

Previously, MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito had hinted at the forthcoming initiative.

“I’m offering MIT as a neutral academic home for some of the conversations and the technical coordination,” he said, “which I think will give a lot more stability to Bitcoin, which right now is a little bit fragile.”

The Bitcoin Magazine article noted that there is an overlap between the terms of reference of the MIT Bitcoin Initiative and those of the Bitcoin Foundation, and speculated that, in view of the troubled history of the foundation, the Bitcoin community could welcome MIT as an alternative, prestigious venue for leadership and coordination of the Bitcoin ecosystem.

Recently, Bitcoin Foundation board member Olivier Janssens wrote that the foundation had been undermined by “two years of ridiculous spending and poorly thought-out decisions” and was “effectively bankrupt.”

It now appears that MIT is beginning to assume leadership in the Bitcoin development space.“I'm pleased to announce that I’ve joined the MIT Media Lab’s newly launched Digital Currency Initiative to continue my work on the Bitcoin project," Andresen said earlier today. "I'm looking forward to working with all the amazing people associated with the initiative,” he says. “Wladimir van der Laan and Cory Fields, both formerly of the Bitcoin Foundation, have also decided that MIT is the best place to continue their work on Bitcoin Core and have joined the Media Lab as well.”

“Over the last couple of months [it] became obvious that the foundation wouldn't be able to raise the funds necessary to continue supporting Wladimir, Cory, and me,” notes Andresen, and adds that MIT hasn’t taken over from the foundation as the center for core development, because “the Bitcoin Foundation was never the center of development.”

Andresen concludes by thanking Ito and Forde for their leadership and support of the Bitcoin community through the Digital Currency Initiative.

Forde, MIT Digital Currency Initiative director said he hopes that the MIT initiative will provide the support needed for the digital currency community to help realizing the “tremendous opportunities to increase access to critical financial services for all, create more transparent democracies, and develop services that dramatically reduce barriers for global commerce,” and looks forward to connecting with anyone who has feedback or new research.Bitcoin Magazine will continue to follow this story and publish updates shortly. 

Image via Web Summit / CC BY 2.0