Wladimir The Silent Figure
There are a number of leaders in the cryptocurrency space. These are mostly people who got involved early and contributed in various ways to the growth of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies at large. For instance, some are developers directly involved with the improvement of the Bitcoin network. Others started and run leading businesses in the ecosystem. These guys usually have a huge following on social media and often speak at major events in the cryptocurrency space. This article is about one such leader in the Bitcoin community. He is known as Wladimir J. van der Laan. If you haven’t heard about him, it is because he is busy using his skills as a developer to make Bitcoin better. He is a Linux graphics stack developer, bitcoin core developer, and cypherpunk.
Maintainer Of Bitcoin Core
Wladimir replaced Gavin Andreesen as the maintainer of Bitcoin Core in April 2014. Before this, one of his first contributions towards the improvement of the digital currency came in the form of work on the user interface of Bitcoin Core. This is how bitcoincore.org describes his duties as maintainer.
“Project maintainers have commit access and are responsible for merging patches from contributors. They perform a janitorial role merging patches that the team agrees should be merged. They also act as a final check to ensure that patches are safe and in line with the project goals. The maintainers’ role is by agreement of project contributors.”
The role of the maintainer is important but less of a leadership role and more of a “janitorial” or “caretaker” role.
MIT’s digital currency initiative pays Wladimir for his work as a Bitcoin Core developer.
The Cypherpunk And Privacy
Considering the role he plays for the world’s number one cryptocurrency, Wladimir van der Laan has done a great job at staying out of the glare of the general public. Clearly, he prioritizes his privacy.
This is in sync with the general idea in the cypherpunk manifesto. Wladimir is not only contributing to the creation of “anonymous transaction systems” to help “defend our privacy”. He also lives his own life by the tenets of the cypherpunk movement.
Rare Public Comments
There are no kings In the Bitcoin community. The respect or influence any person has in the community is based on merit. This influence I speak of, wanes as the person wielding it engages in acts that are dishonest or considered “anti- Bitcoin” by members of the community. The opposite is also true.
Now, when it comes to issues related to how to improve Bitcoin, the words of respected personalities in the space carry some weight. Wladimir has publicly shared his views on hardforks, the scaling debate and “questionable characters” in the community amongst others. He felt continuously increasing the Bitcoin block size was unrealistic. On hardforks, he didn’t think they should be rushed into, considering the difficulty with which they can be successfully pulled off. Wladimir has also commented on the problem of nefarious actors getting into the Bitcoin space and blurring the lines between truth and deception. Away from controversies and contentious issues, van der Laan uses his GitHub blog to explain his work.
You might not like that we don’t hear much from the smart people working on our dear Bitcoin. I am, however, almost certain they would agree that it is important that they rather focus on the very important work they do.