Wladimir Van Der Laan, le développeur qui a tenu la barre du Bitcoin depuis 8 ans, quitte le navire

Wladimir Van Der Laan, le développeur qui a tenu la barre du Bitcoin depuis 8 ans, quitte le navire

A page turns for the Bitcoin network. Its main developer, successor to Satoshi Nakamoto, leaves the ship. who was he? And what will happen now? BFM Crypto takes stock.

Wladimir Van Der Laan, this name may not mean anything to you and yet he is one of the most important bitcoin developers to date. Heading Bitcoin Core since 2014, the open source Bitcoin software, Wladimir Van Der Laan decided in August to withdraw from the project.

What was your role for eight years? Why did she decide to jump ship when Bitcoin became the queen of cryptocurrencies? Who will replace him? BFM Crypto remembers his journey and his vision of the Bitcoin network.

To understand the importance of this person, you need to know that the number of “core developers” of Bitcoin Core can be counted on the fingers of one hand today. First there was Satoshi Nakamoto (founder of Bitcoin) between 2009 and 2011, then Gavin Andresen between 2011 and 2014 and finally Wladimir Van Der Laan from April 7, 2014. Suffice it to say that it was he who saw the Bitcoin blockchain and its own cryptocurrency. bitcoin has grown in popularity in recent years, rising from a few hundred euros in 2014 to more than 23,000 euros at the time of writing.

He led the Bitcoin bar for 8 years.

As the main developer of Bitcoin Core, I was responsible for the proper functioning of the network in coordination with the other developers and contributors of the Bitcoin network. He therefore led the Bitcoin ship for eight years, much longer than Satoshi Nakamoto, while remaining very discreet within the crypto community itself.

As a reminder, Bitcoin Core is open source software that was published by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009, initially under the name Bitcoin Qt. This software is open and accessible to all, as is the very philosophy of bitcoin which is decentralized. But what is this software for? It has several functions. On the one hand, Bitcoin Core allows you to access the Bitcoin network and therefore receive, send or simply verify transactions on the Bitcoin block chain. It is still mostly downloaded and used today by bitcoin miners.

Also, as the software is open source, anyone can modify it (developers, contributors, etc.). The latest version of Bitcoin Core is from April 2022. Although anyone can contribute to the development of the network, there is a certain hierarchy within Bitcoin Core, headed by a main developer (or maintainer) (Wladimir van der Laan), a general maintainer (Pieter Wuille), or even a general and build maintainer (Michael Ford), as well as a handful of other maintainers.

But in this summer of 2022, the team at the helm of Bitcoin Core doesn’t really have the same face anymore. Before the exit announced by Wladimir Van Der Laan on August 8, it was the one until now considered the number 2 of Bitcoin Core who also decided to leave the project, with several years of activity.

The latter explains that he will not stop “contributing to the code, to the revision” and to all the projects in which he is involved. “I’m just not doing much maintenance anymore, so it’s time to cancel my permits,” de Latter said.

“Time to move on”, a nod to Satoshi

But who really is Wladimir Van Der Laan? This IT professional has managed to leave very little trace of his private life on the web. A cypherpunk from Amsterdam, he quickly specialized in computer code and early on in bitcoin. The latter became a contributor to Bitcoin Core in 2011 before becoming its main developer in 2014.

But eight years later, he decided to abandon the adventure. This August he changed his bio on Twitter (@orionwl), stating “ex Bitcoin Core”. Through various messages on the social network, he confirmed that he was leaving the project.

“I think it’s almost time to move on,” he tweeted. A little nod was probably given to Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of bitcoin in 2009. In a last email exchange dating back to April 2011 with Mike Hearn, one of bitcoin’s contributors, Satoshi Nakamoto reportedly explained that he wanted to “move on ” with Bitcoin. Since then, there is no more news of this mysterious character, but the “Bitcoin Talk” discussion forum that he created is still fully operational.

What are the reasons that led Wladimir Van Der Laan to jump ship? In the social network, the latter admitted to being “exhausted” and “stressed”. The latter tells himself “tired of the same discussions, the same problems. It’s been a long time. I’ve changed, the world has changed and I feel it’s time to move on.” In fact, the latter evokes his mental health while seeking to keep the bar on the bitcoin network, which is a network with many discussions, forking attempts, various philosophies (bitcoin maximalist and others) that has continued to grow and gain strength in recent years. years. ..

When asked by a Twitter user what was more important than bitcoin, the latter had the merit of being clear.

“I don’t know what to say, look around you, what’s important to you? Sometimes priorities have changed, but you’re stuck in a certain rut, or you realize you’ve left too much behind. Things get too out of hand.” sense of responsibility,” he said.

If his Twitter account collects the opinions of the latter and the few reasons for his departure, his desire to leave Bitcoin was for the first time in January 2021, in the last post to date on his blog. This post also helps to understand his vision of the Bitcoin network.

“Recent events have made me think about some things in my life that I’ve been thinking about for some time. Also, the responses on social media have made me realize that people have weird expectations of me and what my role in the Bitcoin Core Project,” wrote Wladimir Van Der Laan just over a year ago.

“We have to start taking decentralization seriously”

In his publication, the latter expresses in particular his concerns regarding the protocol.

“Bitcoin has grown a lot since I started contributing to it in 2011. Some arrangements that were acceptable for a small-scale FOSS project are no longer acceptable for a project running a $600 billion system,” he said.

“One thing is clear: this is a serious project now, and we need to start taking decentralization seriously,” he wrote.

The latter admits that he himself would be “a centralized bottleneck”, refusing to appear in the eyes of the community as a “person”.

“And while I find Bitcoin to be an extremely interesting project and I think it’s one of the most important things going on right now, I also have a lot of other interests. That’s also particularly stressful and I don’t want this project, or the weird bickering in the social networks that surround it, to begin to define myself as a person.

Already last year he admitted that he was no longer the most active developer on the network, citing the activities of other developers, including Jonas Schnelli, MarcoFalke, Pieter Wuille and Samuel Dobson. But who could succeed him?

“Van der Laan is the only one who owns the administrative key that gives access to the Bitcoin Core GitHub. His ultimate goal would be to make access to this key completely decentralized, so that Bitcoin no longer needs a main maintainer,” cryptoast stresses. half.

With his departure, what will happen to Bitcoin Core now? The elements of the answers can be found once again in his latest post. The latter had indicated his willingness to “transfer” bitcoincore.org to an organization rather than private ownership “so there is less incentive to try to take down bitcoincore.org.”

“In the long run, you need to stay away from a code distribution website altogether. preparing to make censorship easier and easier,” he added.

So will the torch really pass? If bitcoin’s own philosophy takes time, nothing is less secure. The truth is that it is turning the page for the Bitcoin network.

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