The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Blockstream, a for profit company that hires a number of Bitcoin Core developers, has resigned from the position with Gregory Maxwell stating:
“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. It took until the end of December to wind down my involvement there.”
The move is somewhat unexpected and it’s unclear who will now be funding Gregory Maxwell, if anyone or any entity. Nor is it clear what the real reason was for resigning from the position after some three years. He says:
“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.”
The exact date of his resignation is unclear, but November was the month segwit2x was cancelled due primarily to extensive campaigning against it by Blockstream, with its cancellation so in effect ending the blocksize debate.
A debate that coincidentally begun shortly after Blockstream was founded back in 2014, with the company so resisting any meaningful increase of on-chain capacity since then.
With that task so seemingly achieved in November, coincidentally perhaps, Maxwell apparently decided to resign in the same month, now to do what isn’t very clear. Mark Friedenbach, a Blockstream employee, said:
“The narrative that some corners of the internet have attached to Blockstream has gotten in the way of accomplishing more.”
That narrative being that Blockstream, under the leadership of Maxwell, in effect destroyed bitcoin’s payment system while providing no alternatives at the same time, leading to ever increasing fees and delays of months.
Setting back bitcoin’s merchant adoption with many dropping its acceptance for payments while making bitcoin useless for commerce as a currency at a time when the ecosystem grew to mainstream awareness.
Once that task was achieved, Maxwell celebrated the ever increasing fees, and now so seemingly leaves Blockstream.