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Blockstream Hires Ex-BTCC Exec in Global Market Push

(@AlyssaHertig) | Published on April 12, 2017 at 14:59 BST
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Bitcoin infrastructure startup Blockstream has revealed a new executive addition to the team – a move the firm said marks the beginning of its push to new regions of the world.

The firm, which is best known for pioneering experimental 'sidechains' technology, has now hired Samson Mow as its chief strategy officer. Mow is to assist the company's planned expansion into China and Canada, where the company is soon to open new offices.

Adding context to the move, Mow is a native of Canada, and formerly held a C-level position at China-based bitcoin exchange BTCC.

Mow told CoinDesk:

"I’ll be helping with the productization of Blockstream’s innovations and technology and bringing those to market. I'll be working on setting up representative offices in China and Canada."

With a background in bitcoin mining, Mow will also be looking into R&D for merge-mining efforts – a way to effectively trustlessly join sidechains with the main bitcoin network – as well as "other advanced mining techniques".

Blockstream CTO Greg Maxwell added that many employees fall into the category of "quiet engineers", but that Mow will be an exception.

"I think Samson will bring a more extroverted component to our team here and that will be useful," he said.

Mow also helped organize the Scaling Bitcoin event series, of which Blockstream is a sponsor – although, perhaps, he’s best-known in the bitcoin community for his social media banter.

Global push

Using his experience helping expand another startup, Pixelmatic, in Asia, Mow plans to help Blockstream establish two new offices on an undisclosed timeline, in addition to its current San Francisco base.

When describing the reasons behind the global push, Mow said he will explore new business opportunities in the regions, as well as look into establishing hackathons and other community initiatives.

China is one region that's seen heavy pick-up of the scaling debate, with some blaming geographical distance for communication issues between bitcoin users in the region and the digital currency's developer team.

Mow brought up what he sees as misrepresentations of his new company in some of the public discussions.

"Blockstream is not Bitcoin Core. This kind of messaging and education is important," Mow said, adding that this is a distinction the firm plans to continue to emphasize.

On a more technical note, the startup recently released a new technology known as 'confidential assets' as part of its Elements Project, which uses sidechains pegged to the bitcoin testnet to explore new features that can't yet be deployed to bitcoin proper.

Further, Blockstream CEO Adam Back has indicated that the firm will soon be releasing an update to Liquid, its private blockchain offering, and will also release additions to the bitcoin wallet GreenAddress in the near future.

Samson Mow image via Twitter

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