The MIT Digital Currency Initiative is stepping up to take a larger role in bitcoin development, announcing today that core developers Gavin Andresen, Cory Fields and Wladimir van der Laan have joined the project in a full-time capacity.
Andresen, Fields and van der Laan had previously been supported financially by the Bitcoin Foundation, an industry trade group that has been in the midst of pivoting due to funding constraints.
MIT Digital Currency Initiative director Brian Forde expressed his view that the move would help bring stability to developers, an environment he suggested had been lacking in recent years as the foundation was rocked by scandals.
Forde told CoinDesk:
“Our goal from day one is finding ways to support digital currency and cryptocurrency. Obviously there are different ways to do that, one way is providing stability to core developers in a neutral place. Our hope was in offering them positions we would be able to offer a stable place with resources so they can focus on code.”
Andresen outlined the transition in a blog post, stating that the developers collectively thought MIT Media Lab was the best place to continue their work.
The developer also moved to make his views known about the wider debate that recently emerged around core development.
“The Bitcoin Foundation was never the center of development; the bitcoin core open-source software project has been the center, and like most open-source software projects, the developers who work on bitcoin core are supported in many different ways,” he wrote.
The post ended with Andresen thanking those who had expressed support during the recent transition period and expressing his enthusiasm for the new opportunity to continue his work.
In interview, Forde expanded on how he envisions the Digital Currency Initiative’s role in core development, suggesting that it will seek to leverage the resources available to MIT.
“To the extent possible, we’d like to get more students working with core developments, not just at MIT but at large,” Forde said.
Forde further hinted that MIT is “not the only university” interested in digital currencies, and that one of his goals will be to build a global network of educational facilities.
“Our interest is not to make this a US-only effort. We’ve been reaching out to international universities to incorporate them,” Forde said, adding:
“We just launched last Wednesday, so little by little we’re getting there.”
Image of Gavin Andresen via Flickr