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Greg Maxwell Resigns from Blockstream to Focus on ‘Deep Protocol Work’

Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:03 PM
Josiah Wilmoth
Last Updated March 4, 2021 5:03 PM

Bitcoin Core developer Greg Maxwell has resigned from blockchain startup Blockstream to focus his efforts on open-source protocol development.

Maxwell made this announcement in an email  distributed to the bitcoin-dev mailing list, adding that he had submitted his resignation in November but had only just wound down his involvement with the company.

“In order to spend more time working independently on deep protocol work, especially new cryptographic privacy and security technology for Bitcoin, I resigned from Blockstream last November,” Maxwell wrote.

Maxwell, who co-founded Blockstream, said that his goal in starting the company — which provides corporate blockchain solutions but also contributes heavily to open-source development — was to provide Bitcoin development with the level of sustained financial support that Linux and other open-source projects have.

“We hoped that Blockstream could help act as an anchor of support for technology development, and in doing so help grow the community. I think that has been a big success,” he said. “The Bitcoin industry has matured a lot and today Bitcoin Core gets significant regular contributions from many organizations…and a volunteer community much larger and more active than it has ever been before.”

He said that far from stepping back from Bitcoin, his resignation will allow him to spend more time focusing on development itself and less managing the day-to-day operations of a company.

“So for me this means that I can go back to working on the things I find most exciting … without the overhead of managing staff or dealing with the many non-Bitcoin blockchain applications which are important to Blockstream’s business,” he said, adding that he would focus his attention on innovative technologies such as Bulletproofs, Confidential Transactions, and signature aggregation — technologies which could increase bitcoin’s privacy in a more scalable way.

Maxwell and Blockstream have both become lightning rods in the cryptocurrency community, so it is unsurprising that his resignation engendered very different responses among different corners of the ecosystem.

Posts on the Bitcoin subreddit were overwhelmingly positive, with former coworkers praising his leadership and community members thanking him for his continued contributions to the Bitcoin development.

The /r/BTC subreddit — the de facto subreddit for bitcoin cash — meanwhile, attracted a few humorous conspiracy theories. One post , which had 669 upvotes at the time of writing, opined that “Blockstream is falling apart.” Others suggested that he had been forced out by Blockstream investors.

Perhaps the most unique theory came from a Twitter user, however, who said  that she “wouldn’t be surprised” if she learned that Maxwell had left Blockstream to begin working on Bitcoin Cash.

Featured image from Shutterstock.