UPDATE (8th April 15:18 GMT): Bitcoin's new lead developer Wladimir van der Laan tells CoinDesk via email he was "surprised" to be offered the role and hadn't expected Gavin Andresen to step down:
"I had noticed that Gavin had been much less active in the Github project lately, but I did not expect him to step down as lead developer. But it makes sense, there is a lot more theoretical work with regard to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general making it a full-time job just to keep up with that (and giving talks, travelling, and such). On the other hand, I have been effectively the maintainer of the code for quite a while. In practice nothing changes."
He added that it was "an honour to be entrusted with the role" and said the positive responses he had received were a reminder that his work was appreciated in the community: "it's easy to forget that sometimes with all the trolling and meanness going on around Bitcoin!"
Bitcoin’s lead developer Gavin Andresen is stepping down, and handing the reins over to colleague Wladimir van der Laan, also a very experienced bitcoin core developer.
Andresen, who was responsible for maintaining the core code that underpins the bitcoin ecosystem, said he was taking a step back to focus on broader bitcoin issues as Chief Scientist of the Bitcoin Foundation, the body that standardizes, protects and promotes the use of bitcoin across the globe.
, Andresen wrote:
, a Dutch computer scientist with a PhD in computer graphics from University of Groningen, will be taking over as Bitcoin Core Maintainer.
Van der Laan, who has already been working full-time on maintaining the core code, is the most prolific bitcoin contributor with the highest number of commits on GitHub (although, of course, when it comes to development it’s not all about quantity).
— Gavin Andresen (@gavinandresen) April 7, 2014
Previous projects by van der Laan include Dropship, which in 2011 enabled the sharing of private files on DropBox and thus exposed the poor security practices of the service. DropBox moved to kill the project, asking van der Laan to remove it from Github and then filing DMCA notices against people who mirrored the files on their own Github accounts.
Van der Laan and Andresen were unavailable for comment.
Image courtesy of Gavin Andresen
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.