MLTalks: Gavin Andresen, Cory Fields, and Wladimir van der Laan

November 17, 2015


MIT Media Lab, 3rd Floor


In the span of just a few short years, Bitcoin has grown from a peripheral open-source project into a major catalyst for the development of decentralized, trustless digital payments and contracts. In the spirit of the Internet's wide reach, this technology has the potential to positively impact billions of people and become a crucial part of daily life. In spite of Bitcoin’s rapid growth, the path to widespread adoption remains challenging, and many tough decisions will need to be made in order to ensure the technology’s long-term success. At the core of this decision-making process is a small group of developers who are the stewards of Bitcoin’s core software—security software that helps protect assets worth billions of dollars, as well as the delicate trust in Bitcoin’s decentralized infrastructure. Join us for a conversation with three of these core developers—Gavin Andresen, Cory Fields, and Wladimir van der Laan—to discuss ongoing debates about Bitcoin’s development and future success.


Gavin Andresen was the lead maintainer of the Bitcoin open source software project after its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, disappeared. He is currently a software developer at the MIT Digital Currency Initiative, and still serves as the Chief Scientist of the Bitcoin Foundation. He began his career working on 3D graphics software at Silicon Graphics Computer Systems, and has founded or worked at several startups. Cory Fields is a Bitcoin Core developer who works to maintain and improve development and deployment workflows. His work typically revolves around build procedures and long-term code-base maintainability. For the Bitcoin Core project, he focuses on the build-system, continuous integration, automated regression testing, modularization, and the deterministic release process. Wladimir van der Laan is a developer at the MIT Digital Currency Initiative and lead maintainer for the Bitcoin Core project. This involves reviewing code, troubleshooting bugs, software testing, communicating with open source contributors, as well as coordinating the release process. He has a background in computer science and embedded software development.

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