Gavin Andresen is a developer who is best known for his involvement in the development of Bitcoin . Before the establishment of BTC in 2010, he was a developer of 3D creation software and virtual reality software.

During Bitcoin’s design, Satoshi Nakamoto himself appointed him as the reference implementation lead. In other words, it was Gavin Andresen who decided, in general, the path to follow for Bitcoin.

Gavin Andresen’s journey

Born in 1966 in Massachusetts, Gavin Andresen graduated in 1988 from the prestigious Princeton University , and began his career as a developer. He then co-authored the VRML 2.0 specification in 1996, then decided to leave Silicon Valley to focus on other projects.

During these years, for example, he was CTO of a start-up in the field of voice recognition at the beginning of the Internet, and created a company which developed multiplayer games for blind people called Allinplay. .

princeton university

Princeton University, where Gavin Andresen was educated


His involvement in the development of Bitcoin

Gavin Andresen discovered Bitcoin in May 2010, and was immediately convinced by this project. He therefore devised a way to make it known more quickly: a faucet , a site on which bitcoins were distributed free of charge to visitors . In June 2010, its site was put online, with 10,000 bitcoins distributed free of charge to its visitors at the rate of 5 bitcoins per person (an amount which was gradually decreasing), until 2012, when the site was closed.

Meanwhile, Gavin began submitting proposals to Satoshi Nakamoto, and computer code.

On December 7, 2010, shortly after his faucet , he had also introduced ClearCoin: a third-party custodian service intended to facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers. It is in a way the precursor of the exchanges that we know today, even if neither of the two concepts is new: all this has already existed for the traditional markets since well before 2009.

This service did not last long, however, as he shut it down in June 2011. It was impossible for him to provide both decent service with ClearCoin and quality contributions on Bitcoin code.


Screenshot of the ClearCoin service after it was shut down


And in mid-December 2010, Gavin Andresen wrote:

“With Satoshi’s blessing, and with great reluctance, I will begin to manage the Bitcoin project more actively.”

What no one knew at the time was that the week before, on December 12, 2010, Satoshi had posted his last message on the Bitcointalk forum, and then had, so to speak, retired after having entrusted the project to some active developers at the time, such as Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn.

Gavin had therefore become the maintainer of the Bitcoin project. His mission was not only to bring new features, but also and above all to make sure that everything worked properly. Indeed, Satoshi, despite the elegance of his solutions and the intelligence he demonstrated, was not the most accomplished coder in the history of mankind. Bugs, redundant sections and other vulnerabilities were legion in early versions of the program. Very quickly, more than two-thirds of the code written by Satoshi had been rewritten by the developer community of which Gavin was a part.

In June 2011, Gavin even went to present Bitcoin to the CIA , as responsible for the development of this new network. According to him, everything went well, but we will never really know how the CIA reacted…


CIA premises


The Bitcoin Foundation, and the abandonment of Bitcoin

Some time after this appointment with the CIA, he created the Bitcoin Foundation in 2012, in order to promote this new crypto-currency to the general public. At his side, a few personalities known today, such as Mark Karpelès, future owner of MTGox, Roger Ver, who notably invested heavily in Bitcoin Cash , or Charlie Shrem, who was subsequently convicted in a money laundering case. money on the Silk Road site.

Alongside this fine team, Gavin Andresen will therefore try for some time to promote Bitcoin as he imagines it. He gradually stopped writing or checking code, talking with other developers, and started trying to push through protocol changes he wanted to see, such as increased block sizes.

His behavior and some of his posts on public forums quickly caused a schism in the bitcoin developer community, who felt that Gavin Andresen was deliberately ignoring them to manipulate the public, and thus pass off his opinion as that of the people.

Subsequently, Gavin Andresen began working directly with third-party companies to come up with modifications to Bitcoin without asking other developers, and he even ended up creating a fork of Bitcoin called Bitcoin XT, in which some of his ideas appeared.

At that time, the divorce with the rest of the community had already been made, and he only kept the title of chief developer without having the function in practice. For this reason, in 2014 he ended up resigning from this position.

Gavin Andresen at the 2014 Web Summit


His expulsion from GitHub and transfer to Bitcoin Cash

In May 2016, Gavin Andresen claimed, after meeting him in person, that the real Satoshi Nakamoto was the controversial Craig Wright , which sparked controversy among the community.

No one was mystified by Craig Wright’s manipulations: the complete absence of public proof of identity was for many, in itself, proof that Wright is a fabricator.

“If you have a good way to prove something and a loud way to prove something, and you choose the loud way, chances are it’s because you can’t do it the right way first. place.” – Vitalik Buterin

And right now, in April 2020, there’s still no one who can vouch that Gavin Andresen was honest when he claimed to be convinced he had found Satoshi. Craig Wright has remained unable to publicly prove that he was indeed the creator of Bitcoin, whether on the internet or in court.

Maybe Gavin Andresen is just very impressionable.

It was in this context in June 2016, after having sacrificed his credibility, that Gavin Andresen was ejected from the Bitcoin GitHub by his fellow developers. Fearing that Gavin Andresen would give Craig Wright full access to the Bitcoin code, they revoked all of Andresen’s privileges.

A few months after this scandal, Gavin Andresen will finally declare that he was no longer so sure who Satoshi was , and that he greatly regretted having played this little game.

In 2017, he will leave the Bitcoin Foundation, and the same year will support Bitcoin Cash, which is for him the continuity of his work, undertaken since 2010.


Gavin Andresen is undoubtedly an important person in the history of cryptocurrencies, as he was one of the main programmers who allowed BTC to exist. He directly helped demonstrate, at the very beginning of Bitcoin, that the creation of a decentralized currency was feasible. And indirectly, he therefore participated in opening the door to the development of the entire crypto-asset industry.

Perhaps he made a few mistakes, but the fact remains that he was an extremely important character in the adventure that we are witnessing today.

5/5 - (1 vote)

Tagged in:

About the Author

SAKHRI Mohamed

Founder & Editor

Passionate about the web, new technologies and IT, I share on tutorials, tips, advice, online tools and software for Windows, Mac and Linux.

View All Articles